3 Reasons To Keep Your Scratchers: Second Chance Draws & More
Today I want to cover the THREE reasons you should not throw a ticket away. Even when it's a loser. 2nd chance draws are not the only reason.
 You might be wrong!
A ton of winning scratch-off tickets are just thrown away. These are normally just small winners (but not always).
They are not thrown away because people can't be bothered to claim small amounts. They are thrown away because people haven't realised that they did actually win!
Or sometimes because they lost the ticket. Or washed it in their jeans pocket. Or the dog ate it. You get the picture :-)
The number of unclaimed prizes every year for each lottery company is insane.
So firstly, take care of your tickets. Treat them as winners until you are positive they are not.
But second DOUBLE CHECK every ticket.
Play the game first. Visually check it and decide how much you won. Then keep that ticket until you can scan it at a self-check machine to see what that says.
If there's no self-scan machine, then by all means ask the shop assistant to scan it for you. But do this having some idea of what the ticket is worth. And sign the back first.
The newspapers are full of stories of people who thought they only won small, but then it turned out to be a heck of a lot more.
 Second chance draws
These are bonus draws that give you a chance to turn a genuine losing ticket into a winner.
How do second chance scratchers work?
It's a random draw process. And you get one entry for every losing ticket you submit. They then randomly pick out e.g. 10 tickets, who might all win $1,000.
How to play 2nd chance scratchers?
These days they are mostly done online (you used to have to mail them in). So typically you have to register on the official lottery company website first. Then you just type in the barcode number for each of your losing tickets. Simple, right?
TIP: If the ticket is rejected when you try to enter it in a second chance draw, then check it closely again - because it might actually be a winner! And winning tickets cannot be entered :-)
Not every lottery company offers these extra draws (check their website). But even if they don't have one right now, they may soon. So you could have a stockpile of entries all ready to go if you keep your losing tickets.
They usually limit how old a ticket can be, so there's not much point keeping 10 year old tickets. But some older ones will most likely still work.
These draws are definitely worth doing.
Why? Because people are lazy. Most players cannot be bothered to enter 2nd chance draws.
Which means your chances are a lot better than you might think. If you CAN be bothered.
 Tax offsetting
I'm not a tax expert of any kind. But in the USA lottery winnings are taxable.
What most people don't realise though is that your entry costs can be offset against those winnings. Which can reduce your tax bill!
It's like winning all over again ;-)
But you must keep your tickets as evidence of those costs.
Talk to your tax office - they are nice folks really. They will be happy to explain if you're not sure how this works. Or how to do the paper work.