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  • your ticket is old and no longer valid 🙁 – nothing you can do here, other than remember to check your tickets earlier in future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.

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46 Comments so far ↓

  • Chris

    I tried to claim a $1000 winner, they said the claim can’t be processed claim at lottery. What does it mean? Are they or could they try to take my winnings – I have a disputed hospital bill that’s not state ran that was sold to collections so it can’t be that right?

    • LG

      No, it can’t be that – until you claim they don’t know who bought the ticket.

      Here’s what cannot process claim at lottery is most likely to mean.

      • Chris

        It was at an authorized dealer that cashes up to $5000 so I had to fill out the form there and everything (sign the back, use social and give ID) but all they said was claim at lottos office. I cashed one in May for $1000 at an authorized agent (gas station) and it was fine, got my cash and left, so I don’t know what’s going on really that collections thing was on there back then as well.

      • LG

        OK – so is it a case of “can’t” or “won’t” process it. You didn’t ask why?

        I guess just try elsewhere or claim at the lotto office.

  • Ellen

    Hi, if the ticket once scanned says take ticket to lottery retailer, does it mean that the ticket has not yet expired?

  • Keenah Pardee

    Can a retailer sell me scratchoff out of sequence. For instance sell me 000 and 003.

    • LG

      Only accept tickets directly off the roll. If they are already detached or appear from under the counter don’t accept them. They may be fine (e.g. a previous customer changed their mind) but why risk it.

  • Millie

    Is it possible for a store clerk to check scratch tickets to find the winning ones. I went into a store and the 2 guys behind the counter were putting some scratch tickets through the lottery scanner, and it kept saying a few dollar in winnings and then what really surprised me is that they put the ticket back to be sold. So they already know those tickets are not winners.

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