How Do You Get Rid of a Winning Ticket?
It seems like an odd conundrum but we all know what to do with losing tickets. (Actually I stack them up and occasionally add them up to torment myself!). However, those pesky $1 to $10 winners demand our attention. We have to be suitably grateful that we got some kind of a win versus all the losing. It’s still real money and hey, it’s another free kick at the can. The thing is; do you go back to the “lucky lottery store” where you bought it? Or, knowing every tray of tickets is full of blanks, do you move on to the next hunting ground?
In fact neither technique works because you only found your winner by blind stupid luck. The ticket beside it could have been worth a million bucks and the next fifty worth nothing. That’s true across the distribution from one end of the country to another. There is no lucky location; only blind luck wherever you pick.
I have a circle of stores no more than 10 kilometers away that I use regularly. Occasionally, one location seems to offer a string of ‘hits’ and I go to it until it runs dry. Of course it runs dry. It’s dry to begin with. But even if I figure the collection of tickets on offer can only hold so many winners, it doesn’t help to trade in the little winners anywhere else either. The vast majority of instant tickets offer nothing, and eventually, inevitably, that’s what you’ll end up with.
Case in point: an On the Run corner store attached to a local Esso station. In spite of having otherwise functioning mental abilities, I bought a $10 X Money ticket and a $3 Money Ball. Prior to doing so I did look up their prize structures and available jackpots at OLG. Always check the INSTANT Unclaimed Prize Information page before buying! Sure, your odds of winning a jackpot can be 2 million to one, but they are precisely zero if that ticket has none left. (See Quest for Gold Crossword for instance).
Literally against all odds both tickets were winners. But don’t book the ticket to Bali just yet. I won $13. The chance of picking out a $10 winner in X Money is 1.6 million out of 15 million tickets nationwide. Mathematically, 9.36:1, but only 7 million tix came to Ontario. (See X Money, Players Guide Fact Sheet). Presumably only half of the $10 winners did too. But, grab a second ticket and also win? Money Ball offers 418,000 chances to win $3, out of more than 3 million tix. To do both I assume you multiply the two odds. What am I; a mathematician?
Set No Store by Lottery Luck
So, do I go back to the same tray of tickets and hope to have yet more luck? Am I on a roll? I decide yes…sort of. Surely many other suckers have bought tickets here and cleaned out the losers. Or did luckier people than me come along and hoover up the winners that I just missed? Would another store offer any better odds?
I turned in my ill-gotten gains for two more Money Balls and a mitt full of $1 tix. I also included a 6/49 quick pick because “you can’t win if you don’t play”. Of the four little tix two won a buck each. Of two Money Balls I collected another $3. So as the tickets lead me down a path to nowhere, they also entice me with false thoughts that the ‘next one’ will finally prove the break out winner. I know from experience that, in fact, I will trade in little winners until I get little losers but there’s no sense saving a buck or two.
Despite picking half winners each time, I can’t bring myself to feel like a ‘winner’. It’s the Zeno’s Paradox of lotteries! You spend $13 and win $13. You trade it in and win $5 and so on until you pick nothing. Rinse and repeat. I could simply stop buying lottery tickets but that ship sailed forty years ago. Of course, OLG’s TV and radio ads keep infecting me with a fresh case of Lottery Fever, and the company that prints these things is working to keep me hooked too.
Pollard Banknote Co., a 110 year old company based in Winnipeg Manitoba, brags about the innovations that drive ticket sales. They are self-described “trendsetters” in making shiny instant tickets that drive higher sales. The sales enrich their clients while they impoverish the customers of those clients but I bear them no ill-will. I’m kind of proud they are a Canadian company. Their product, while nefarious in principle, is after all a luxury item anyone can forego.
I resolve to escape Zeno’s Paradox this time! Uh…well…after I trade in these little winners.
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