One wouldn’t think there is a marketing strategy to selling scratch off tickets. Many think they just walk into a convenience store, look through the glass in the counter, and pick a ticket that looks good. One might think that visiting a store that has copies of big winner tickets in the windows indicates the luck of the store, and will buy tickets from these places rather than places that do not have copies of winners in the window.
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There are actually several marketing strategies behind scratch off tickets. The first strategy I’d like to cover is the copies of winners in the window I mentioned before. If you walk into a store that has copies of the big winner tickets hanging all over the place, WALK AWAY! In most cases (not all) the store owners are scamming you. Let me explain.
A store owner buys a book of scratchers for $150. In most states, a book of scratch offs retails at $300, no matter what price the ticket is. So, if it’s a book of $1 scratch offs, then there will be $300 scratch offs in the book. If it’s a book of $2 scratch offs, then there will be 150 scratch offs in the book, etc. It is not uncommon for store owners to buy the $150 book at a wholesale price, then scratch all the tickets. Let’s say in this particular book, the owner has uncovered about 30 scratch offs that win between a TICKET and $50 each, making their initial $150 back. Then in that book of scratch offs, the store owner uncovers a $1,000 winner. That store owner just made $1,000 in pure profit. Putting these winners around the store is misleading and will cause you to think that particular store is lucky.
On to less shady marketing strategies to get you to buy scratch offs.
Names are a big deal in scratch off games. Everything is in a name. Would you rather buy a ticket called Set for Life, or Piggies in a Blanket? Obviously you would choose Set for Life. The name alone suggests fortune and winnings.
Secondly, the colors of the ticket are a factor in determining if you will buy the scratch off or not. When we were kids Lucky and the pirates were always going after the GOLD. Money is GREEN. Diamonds sparkle BLUE and WHITE graphically. We are attracted to things that look prosperous. Would you pick a scratch off that is mostly green and looks like a $100 bill, or would you pick a scratch off that has pictures of buildings on them?
I have noticed that many scratch off have pop references such as Las Vegas, popular bands, and popular cartoon characters. These scratch offs are designed to appeal to your empathetic nostalgic side or to your associations. Generally one associates Las Vegas with fun and winning, so when we see a scratch off called Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas, we subconsciously think the scratch off is fun and a winning.
Finally, in my research on scratch offs, I have noticed an interesting trend in New York, Washington D.C., and Texas. They are called the Black and Gold cards. In New York, there is a $5 scratch off called New York Lottery Black. It looks very elegant and exclusive. Likewise, Texas has Texas Lottery Black Series and Texas Lottery Black II Series – Limited Edition. These look exactly like the New York Black series. Washington D.C. has District of Columbia Black that costs $20 and District of Columbia Gold, which also costs $20. These tickets invoke a sense of belonging in an elite club and prestige.
Don’t be fooled by winning ticket hanging in store windows. Don’t get taken away by fancy names or dazzling colors or nostalgic associations or even the feeling of belonging to an elite club. Pick the ticket with the best odds and that has the highest amount of top prizes left.