We love to give away prizes and lots of those prizes go to scratch game winners. So, we thought we’d take a look at scratch game odds to help you better understand how it all works.

Game odds are posted on the back of every scratch ticket and are calculated by taking the total number of tickets printed for any particular game divided by the total number of winning tickets.

Our scratch ticket vendors use software that generates a variable data algorithm to ensure that every ticket printed has the same random chance to win. In addition, the lottery requires that the algorithm limit the string of non-winning tickets for most games by three times the odds rounded down to the nearest whole number. In the example above, that would be 3 x 3.47 = 10.41. It would be possible to have several winning tickets, or none at all, in a string of 10 tickets. 

One common misconception is that someone knows where the winning tickets are. Nope! Tickets are programmed and printed in a way that nobody — not our vendors, not the lottery, and not our retailer partners — know which tickets are winners until they are scratched by you!

You can find the odds for every scratch game currently on sale at mnlottery.com. Scroll toward the bottom of any scratch game page to find the prizes & odds table. This table will show each prize tier, the odds of winning that prize and the number of tickets printed for that tier of prizes.

So let’s look at the prizes and odds table for the $500 Cash Crossword scratch game. This table will tell you how often a ticket, on average, is likely to result in a win.

To give you the best chance to win, the lottery stops selling any game when the last top prize has been claimed.

If you want to know how many prizes are currently available in a specific game, visit the unclaimed prizes page.

If you don’t win, you can keep the fun going by entering eligible non-winning tickets for the chance to win a 2nd Chance prize. You could score cash, merchandise or amazing experiences. Just look for tickets with the 2nd Chance logo.

2nd Chance odds are determined by the number of non-winning tickets entered by players with Minnesota Lottery accounts. Do 2nd Chances take away from cash prizes? A common misconception is that the 2nd Chance greatly reduces the amount of cash prizes offered in a scratch game. Not true! Only a very small portion, if any, of the normal cash prizes fund a 2nd Chance. In many cases the 2nd Chance prizes are added to the normal cash payout of a game.

We hope that helps you understand scratch games odds a little better.