Winning the lottery is just the beginning

Who Wouldn’t Love the Smell of Bacon on their Scratch Ticket?

Ok. Think you’ve heard everything in scratch tickets?

Well, smell this one.

The New Hampshire Lottery has launched its first scratch-and-sniff scratch ticket.

The “I Heart Bacon Scratch Ticket” costs $1 and offers a grand prize of $1,000.

The ticket first went on sale Jan. 5.

Players get a whiff of bacon after scratching the ticket.

I mean, who doesn’t Love bacon?

“The (NH) Lottery is focused on developing new and fun ways to engage customers. The I Heart Bacon scratch ticket combines Read more

Yikes: Michigan Lottery Has to Pay Off $7.4 Million in Prizes to Daily 4 Players

It’s not uncommon for players of the Daily 3 and Daily 4 midday and evening drawings to play patterns of numbers, like 1-2-3-4 or 0-0-0.

According the Michigan Lottery, one of those days was Tuesday, Jan. 6, when the Daily 4 evening drawing revealed the winning numbers as: 1-0-0-1.

That meant that winners cashed in on more than $7.4 million in prizes.

Players bought 8,050 tickets Read more

Best Start to New Year? How About Winning $25,000?

The first full week of January has been very exciting for Terry Kiser of Abilene, Kansas. First, he celebrated a birth. Then, he ends the week by claiming a $25,000 top prize playing the Kansas Lottery’s $5 Cash Machine instant scratch game!

“My dad gave me some birthday money, so I decided to buy a couple of lottery tickets,” said Kiser.  “I bought two $10 tickets and ended up winning $30.  I pocketed $20 and spent $10 on two of the Cash Machine tickets.  Before leaving the store, I scratched the tickets and was surprised when I saw I had won $25,000.”

Winning a large Kansas Lottery prize seems to run in the family.  One of Kiser’s close relatives won a $20,000 top prize twice playing Bonus Crossword tickets.

“The first thing I did when I realized how much I had won was call my wife Beth at work,” said Kiser.  “Of course she didn’t believe me, so Read more

80 Year Old New Yorker Wins $326 Million

A retired Sullivan County, New York, school principal drew the sole winning ticket from a $326 million Mega Millions game two months ago, making him the biggest winner in state lottery history.

Harold Diamond, 80, purchased the winning multi-state ticket in Middletown, New York, on Nov. 4. Cponfession: I (the writer of this post) grew up in Middletown. And no, I do not know Mr. Diamond.

Diamond had 60 days to contact lottery officials, and the Wurtsboro resident finally did so just before Christmas.

The lottery winner and his wife arrived Read more

New Mexico Winner is Roadrunner Winner (of $143,000)

A Santa Fe man claimed a $143,000 jackpot from the New Mexico Lottery.

Anthony Valdez matched the winning numbers in a game called Roadrunner, beating odds of 1 in approximately 435,000.

Valdez, who checked his ticket’s numbers against drawing results posted at the lottery’s website, said he never expected to win.

“I was in shock,” he told lottery officials in Albuquerque. “I still am.”

Even though he discovered his good fortune the day after the drawing, Valdez waited more than a week to claim his prize so that his parents, his brother Read more

Ga. Man Drives Away in 2015 Cadillac (and $48,000)

A Madison County, GA man has put on the brakes to receive a new vehicle from the Georgia Lottery. Timothy Poole of Carlton has won a 2015 Cadillac SRX plus $48,941 playing the instant game Cadillac Riches.

Poole, 44, credits his good fortune to his “good luck doll.”

“Ever since I brought it home, I’ve been on a winning streak,” he said of the little wooden figure. “I’ve won $100 several times and one $500 prize Read more

A Mega Way to Start 2015: By Winning $1 Million

Imagine starting 2015 like Virginia lottery player Sandra McDonald, who won a million bucks playing Mega Millions.

The Woodbridge, Va. woman matched the first five numbers in the December 30 Mega Millions drawing. The only number she missed was the Mega Ball number. That wins Mega Millions’ second prize of $1 million.

“I saw the winning numbers on the news, and I thought, ‘I don’t remember having those numbers,’” she said.

But later in the night, when she couldn’t sleep, she checked Read more

Lotteries Worldwide

The game of lottery can be played in many different ways though the most popular and most common format involves the random selection of numbers – with bettors holding tickets with the same numerals declared as winners. However, there are other forms of lotteries being played. These come in different formats and the prizes vary as well.

Apart from the standard “drawing the numbers from a basket” kind of lottery, where the bettors select their numbers; there are lotteries that use scratch cards. The consumers buy special cards and scratch off portions on it. If the exposed portion reveals a pre-specified code, a combination of images, a specific image, a name, a word – whatever; then the holder of the scratch card either claims a (consolation) prize or is declared the winner.

The prizes given out during lotteries vary as well and these could either be in the form of a fixed amount of money or goods or products. Lotteries that give out fixed cash are risky for the organizer as they may not be able to recoup their investment if not enough tickets were sold. For organizers, the “50-50” type of lottery is much preferred.

This type of lottery is the most commonly and widely used format because, instead of a fixed amount, the prize can be just a percentage of the total receipts or ticket sales. As the name itself implies, half of the total revenue generated will be given as the prize money. In lotteries such as this, there could be a predetermined number of winners, as is the case when each ticket sold corresponds to a unique lottery ticket; or have several people winning (or none at all), as is what normally occurs when consumers are allowed to select a number or a combination of numbers.

For percentage based lotteries, in most cases, if the jackpot prize is not won, the said amount is set aside and whatever is earned in the succeeding ticket sales that lead up to the next lottery draw is added to the old prize money thus making the pot that will be up for grabs even bigger. Since the prize money gets larger and larger every time it is not won, the organizers are assured that more people will be enticed to buy not just one but several lottery tickets for the succeeding draws.

Incidentally, usually, there are no limits to the number of lottery tickets you can buy…….but are they rigged?

Many believe that lotteries, a game of chance that involves the random drawing of numbers, cannot be rigged; however, there have been instances where investigations have proven that this too can be fixed.

In the late 1990s, it was discovered that the results one of the many lotteries held in Italy, was rigged. The organizers, in order to increase credibility of the game’s impartiality, ask blindfolded children to draw the winning numbers. However, investigators found out that this ruse is flawed. The blindfold used to cover the eyes of the children did not completely block out the child’s sight.

These “faulty blindfolds” afforded the children a degree of vision (not complete vision) – vision that’s enough for them to discern one thing from another. To aid the children, the hollow metal balls used in the lottery are shined, with the balls that correspond to the desired winning numbers, buffed to a very high gloss. These balls would be shinier and feel smoother to the touch. After the numbers have been drawn, the children are given a toy or candies and asked to keep quiet. The police believe that key members of the organizers are involved in this scandal and, even the children asked to draw the numbers, are remotely related to employees of the organizers.

Inspectors believe that the cheating started out as a low-key operation but spiraled out of control when the local mafia found out about it and wanted to be part of the syndicate. Although many have been arrested, many others have managed to flee the city and may still be rigging lotteries in other nearby Italian cities. At that time, investigators believe that the rigging has been going on for over a decade.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker

Do Syndicates Really Work

As I have already mentioned my field of expertise is in poker and there are many syndicates in poker too and especially with poker tournaments where the losing runs can be long. At sites like 888poker then you have some huge fields and winning any of these events could literally be a once in a lifetime experience even for good players. So many players enter into syndicates and this helps to smooth out the losing runs.

This is why they are very popular in lotteries because they give people a chance to win big more often. If you join a syndicate with 50 people in it and each has 2 lines then you have 100 lines for every draw which means that you are 50 times more likely to win something. However this works in reverse as well of course because if you win say $1 million then that figure has to be divided by 50 and so $20,000 no longer equals a life changing sum of money.

There are risks to syndicates and the main one is trust. Can you trust all of the people to pay up on time and can you trust the person who is leading the syndicate with the money? These are questions that need to be asked and answered because we have all heard stories of people who have been caught with their proverbial hand in the till so to speak. If you can overcome the trust factor then they are a good idea in my opinion.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker

So you have just won the lottery…..then what?

In order to answer this question, you would have to analyze your personal situation. Different circumstances warrant different decisions. Take for example Mrs. Louise Outtings who won the Megabucks Lottery in Massachusetts a few years ago. She won a whopping 5.6 million dollars (projected winnings).

She wasn’t given the option of getting her winnings as a lump sum. In her case, she has no choice. The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission only gives out the winnings at 20 equal installments over a period of time. The thing is, Mrs. Outtings is not exactly a spring chicken – she was, at the time of her win, 94 years old! As such, she probably won’t live long enough to enjoy all her winnings.

However, that is such a special case. All things being equal, what should your choice be? Take the lump sum payment or extend it over a period of time? According to expert Rick Bloom, his general rule is to take the lump sum option. Again, this is considering that one’s situation is not exceptional. Why does he recommend this option?

First, consider the taxes. No matter which option you choose, you would still be taxed at the highest bracket. At present, the tax rate for lottery winnings would be about 39.5 percent. If you take out all your money you will have the chance to invest it and make it grow more. The applicable tax for this investment would then be only about 20 percent, which is a lot of savings for you.

If you make taxes your main consideration, it makes sense to merely take out the lump sum. It lowers your tax burden over the long run as you receive capital gains treatment and then have the chance of choosing your means of increasing your earnings.

However, you would also have to consider your investment savvy. Mismanaging lottery winning is one very common scenario. Having a windfall sometimes knocks the senses out of people. Still, having the payments staggered is not a guarantee of proper financial management. With that in mind, it would still be better to get the lump sum and employ the services of a financial adviser.

Whether you get the lump sum or extended payments, the bottom line is your financial sense. Taking the time to plan and make decisions is what will benefit you in the long run.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at and who also does the lottery

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