Why Does My Lottery Ticket Say See Retailer?

Lottery ticket scanner - see retailer

When your lottery ticket says see retailer, it can mean a bunch of different things.

Here I explain what they are and what you can do about it.

Two Main Types Of ‘See Retailer’ Message

This is the first thing to understand – there are 2 main kinds of these messages.

Firstly there is the simpler ‘please see retailer’ message. This is different to the ‘cannot process’ message.

Both are covered in detail below.

1. ‘Please See Lottery Retailer’

When your lottery ticket says see retailer, but it does NOT mention anything about ‘cannot process’, here’s what it can mean:-

  • There is a network/system problem – so just try again later.
  • You scanned it at a ticket vending machine and you have won more than $100 (the vending machines have a lower maximum payout limit).
  • You may have won more than $600 but less than $5,000 – the retailer can handle this (more and you have to claim from the lottery office).

So what does it mean when your lottery ticket says see retailer? Most likely that you have won something.

Which is a good problem to have. 🙂

And why do the scanners just say ‘see retailer’ when you have won? Because it’s safer for you than the machine screaming “WINNER, please now steal my ticket…”. 😉

Seriously, that is the reason. Self-scan machines used to announce a winner, but there were some cases of people stealing tickets from winners identified in this way. So bear in mind if your lottery ticket says see retailer this is actually the lottery company looking out for you!

2. My Lottery Ticket Says Cannot Process See Retailer

So what does it mean when a lottery ticket says cannot process see retailer? This is a whole different kettle of fish.

It happens quite often with lottery apps. But these apps are basically doing exactly the same thing as the self-scan machines in stores anyway.

So however you are scanning the ticket it can mean:-

  • it didn’t scan correctly – make sure you ticket is nice and flat, and scan again
  • the lottery network is temporarily down or overloaded – just try again later on
  • your ticket is old and no longer valid 🙁 – nothing you can do here, other than remember to check your tickets earlier in future
  • the ticket is damaged and not scannable – if you think you’ve won, put in a claim form
  • it’s possible, though rare, for a misprint or faulty ticket – all you can do here is contact the lottery company and hope they honor any winnings it shows

Scratch Off Says Cannot Process Contact Lottery

In addition to those reasons above, scratchers also have an extra special case – the ticket roll was not activated.

What does that mean?

As a security measure, each roll of tickets is ‘activated’ before going on sale. This is something the retailer does using their lottery terminal.

It’s done to make it difficult for thieves to steal tickets. If they break in and steal rolls of tickets that have not been activated yet, the tickets cannot be claimed. And obviously the thieves don’t know the access codes/passwords to be able to activate the tickets.

Typically these ‘unactivated’ tickets will just show that ‘cannot process contact lottery’ message. But you might also see a more specific message where the lottery ticket says not active. Which is pretty clear!

So what does this mean for your ticket?

If you bought the ticket cheap from a dodgy ‘friend of a friend’ down a dark back alley (or the person who gave it to you might have!)… well, lesson learnt! 🙂

But if you bought the ticket as normal from an authorised retailer, then I’d recommend you call the lottery company first. They can sometimes sort this out on the spot by calling the retailer, and getting them to activate the roll. Then you can just claim as normal.

Alternatively just complete a claim form at the lottery office (or post in a form) and they will sort it out later.

P.S. Did you get my scratchers tips yet? It’s free and includes lots of great tips on improving your chances of winning

If you have any questions on this please just add a comment below. Also do come back and tell us what happens with your ticket – we’d all love to know if you managed to sort it out.

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Dana

    I purchased an instant ticket. One of my numbers was 53. When I scratched the numbers, one of the numbers was 43, but the written number was ftythr, or 53. It did not say that I had won, but shouldn’t that technically mean I did win? The payout would be very large! Please let me know or guide me to who I should contact. Thank you.

    • LG

      Sorry but I don’t think you’ve won – ‘fty’ is also the same letters for Forty. 🙂 So fifty is probably ffy.

      But do scan the ticket anyway just to double check it.

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