• Report: #1061833
Complaint Review:

Washington State Lottery

  • Submitted: Mon, June 24, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, June 24, 2013

  • Reported By: Average Joe — Seattle Washington
Washington State Lottery
P. O. Box 2167 Olympia, Select State/Province USA

Washington State Lottery The Lottery is a Ripoff! A way to poverty, bankruptcy, depression! Olympia washington

*Author of original report: Lottery Ripoff

*Consumer Comment: The Lottery Preys On the Poor, Desperate and Greedy

*Consumer Comment: Being late is better than never

*Consumer Comment: You will continue to play.

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The Washington State Lottery is a ripoff, and they know it. They are the ones making all the money, and they know it. For the pititful few who actually win one of the major prizes, the rest of us who need that money for bills are tired of losing. We are tired of the false hope they give with their commericals and advertisements for a better life! I am tired of losing, I am tired of getting ripped off, I am tired of putting money into the lottery and getting nothing back, so that is a classic definition of a Rip Off!

The state knows what it is doing. Washington state lottery puts their display cases right at the point of sale, in your face, so you cannot avoid them even if you want to. The scratch ticket display cases are at nearly every convenience store, retailer and gas station in the state.  The lottery commission needs to remove those display cases, away from the point of sale in their own machine, at the back of the store, away from purchases. People are tired of being poor and being ripped off, so I know for a fact the lottery is a ripoff! I've lost over $45,000 in the past 31 years, and that is my fault, but no more! No more lottery ripoff! No more losing! No more grocery money for lottery tickets, no more gas money, no more nothing for them! They get enough money from property taxes without my foolishly have to voluntarily give it to them!

The stated odds on the back of the scratch tickets seem questionable.  On Bingo, for example, each ticket says something like, "overall odds of winning are 1:3.61" which tells me that I should at least get my money back after four tickets. Well, in that pack I've often got strings of 10, 11 or 12(!) in a row with NOTHING back.  How is that 1:3.61??  I've played scratch bingo for nearly two decades now, and not one time have I gotten an "X" on any one of the four panels.  You would think after 6,000+ tickets somebody would get at least ONE "X" ($150 on #1, $250 on #2, $500 on #3 and $20,000 on #4).  

When I rephrased the odds stated on the back of the tickets,  "Overall odds of winning are 1:3.61", for example, it makes more sense to read, "For every $3.61 you pay out, on the average, you will get $1.00 back."  If there are six million bingo tickets stretched out end to end with four jackpot winners, the line would be about 800 miles long. Now pick out one 8" segment along that line.  There are only four of those for 800 miles(!).

Another devious thing the state did was take away the three-letter validation code that told smarty-pants like me whether or not the ticket was automatically a winner.  For example, ONE=$1, TWO=$2, THR=$3, FIV=$5, TEN=$10, TWY=$20, TWF=$25, TRY=$30, FRY=$40, FTY=$50, ONH=$100, FVH=$500, etc.  The three letters would appear in random places in the play area, but not any more. This was standardized throughout all the scratch tickets, but the state removed them because they were (and still are) hoping that some players will throw away winners so they don't have to pay them.  So the only way to know for sure now is  to scan them, whereas before, you knew right away.

Some information that helped me to quit: the number of losing tickets in a row (consecutive) before they pay a break even:

$2 scratch tickets: 12 in a row  ($24 out)
$3: 10 in a row  ($30 out)
$5: 9 in a row    ($45 out)
$10: 7 in a row  ($70 out)
$20: 5 in a row.  ($100 out); this means you could lose $120 before you could get $20 back! (the 6th ticket). Net loss: $100: 2-3 tanks of gas, dinner for two, a dozen really nice tenderloin steaks, five bags of groceries, etc.

The state considers getting the price of your ticket back as a winner.  In reality, that's called breaking even. Breaking even is not winning! Washington State continues to rip people off with the lottery scratch tickets because they continue to sell the games even after all the top prizes have been paid, making any remaining tickets they willfully leave in the display case false advertising!

Average net losses for packs of scratch tickets (based on my actual purchases):

$200 pack of (100) $2 tickets: net loss between $110 and $130
$250 pack of (50) $5 tickets (any) : net loss between $110 and $150
$500 pack of (50) $10 tickets: net loss between $240 and $275
$500 pack of (25) $20 tickets: net loss between $235 and $280

I also put over $200 into their latest ripoff, the trucks and bucks promotional second chance drawing, and my not winning was the last straw. I put enough into the lottery, I expected something back!  Well, no more! No more ripoff!  Lottery tickets ripoff, lottery tickets, problem gambling, losers, poverty, depression, anger, rage, failure to fully disclose. There is no way at the point of sale to determine if a top prize has been paid on any given scratch ticket. A buyer has to go to the website to see if there are any major prizes left before buying.  Yeah, I do have a problem gambling. My problem is that I haven't won!

The state says, "It's good to play".  Wrong.  It's good for the state, not the players.  The only winning move is NOT to play. Or pay.

I am going to start a campaign to warn others of the dangers of lottery games and how they can lead to poverty, bankruptcy and depression, and talk them out of it.  I also have enough factual material to write an e-book that would be very convincing, because the facts and actual numbers definitely favor the state.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/24/2013 11:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/washington-state-lottery/olympia-select-stateprovince-98507/washington-state-lottery-the-lottery-is-a-ripoff-a-way-to-poverty-bankruptcy-depressio-1061833. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Lottery Ripoff

AUTHOR: Average Joe - ()

Revision to my original statement:

The Washington State Lottery does not reveal all the facts about its games. After 31 years of lottery scratch tickets, I'm calling it quites.  The Lottery Department is not being honest with us, and it's costing us money on false hope.  Buying lottery tickets is not a road to prosperity, it's a road to bankruptcy.

The state does not tell you before you buy the ticket--and make that information prominently placed--if all the top prizes on a given scratch ticket have been claimed. It says so on the back, but by then you've already bought the ticket and lost your money.

The state is selling the IDEA of a "better life," but for me, it's been constant disappointment and continued losses to the tune of about $3,000 a year.  So, yeah, it's my fault for being stupid, but now that I know how the lottery works, I can save my money instead.

There are consecutive strings of scratch tickets, from $1 to $20 each, that pay NOTHING back, and by the nth ticket they have to pay a break even prize.  The state counts breaking even as winning, another one of their "less than honest" tactics.  Here is the breakdown per pack:

$1 tickets=15 in a row (net loss: $15)
$2 tickets=12 in a row (net loss: $24)
$3 tickets=10 in a row (net loss: $30)
$5 tickets=9 in a row (net loss: $45)
$10 tickets=8 in a row (net loss: $80)
$20 tickets=5 in a row (net loss: $100)

My favorite game used to be $2 bingo.  I probably bought 7,000 tickets in the last 15 years, since it first came out.  Since then, only I won three $50 prizes and one $100 prize.  Not one "X" on any of the four cards.  That gives you an idea of just how rare the $100 and higher prizes are, like, a string of them from here to the Montana border and pick out the one jackpot winner.  Yeah, right!

Sometimes you win $50 on the $5 scratch tickets, but you have to pay $100 to get it.  Two steps forward, three steps back.

Reality check: reverse the statement on the back of the scratch tickets.  For example, if it says, "Overall odds of winning any prize are 1:3.66", it really means "on the average, for every $3.66 you pay out, you will get one dollar back."

Put your money away instead.  A year or two or five years down the road, you will definitely thank yourself.  Just don't blow your wad and fall back into your old ways of lottery ticket ripoff, deception, bankruptcy, broke, non-disclosure, poverty, depression, lottery ripoff, financial disaster.  If you put $30 a week away in savings instead of buying lottery tickets, at the end of one year you would have $1,560.  Five years, $7,800.  Ten years, $15,600.00.  Now which is smarter: saving like this or blowing it on false hope?

The lure of easy money has very strong appeal, but it is the patient saver who wins.

Until complete abandonment of buying lottery tickets can be maintained, I have discovered that a set budget--and not going beyond that--is the second step to quitting, which follows, of course, admitting you have a problem.  My problem is that I didn't win, and my second problem is all the facts I've presented here that the state withholds from you that I had to discover on my own.

Check this out, http://www.trentonian.co…

The last time I played I bought about 25 scratch tickets.  All losers. Every one.  Nothing back.  Not even a dollar.  $110 gone and nothing to show for it, so I know I made the right decision by quitting the lottery.

Now you can have the benefit of 31 years of knowledge for free.  May it help you to make better financial decisions in the future.

Did you know the director of the Washington State Lottery makes about $113,000 a year?  It's public information, I found it on the Internet.  The Sales Director makes about $90,000 a year.  Even regional sales managers make about $66,000 a year, the "specialists" $70,000 a year.  There are 25 people at the Lottery making over $66,000 a year and another 25 people at the WSL making over $50,000 a year while I struggle to survive--and I have a college degree!  That's over $3 million of your hard earned money that goes just to pay the top state lottery employee salaries.  There is something really wrong with that.

I am twice as quit now!

The only winning move is not to play.

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#2 Consumer Comment

The Lottery Preys On the Poor, Desperate and Greedy

AUTHOR: Joe Blow - ()

I live in Fort Worth, TX and I too notice how in all the stores that sell lottery tickets they have giant blown up photos of the "winners" right in your face at the point of sale. They are doing nothing but selling FALSE HOPE. When the odds are so against a person winning I think its fair to call it FALSE HOPE. 

All these states and the government are greedy. They are desperate for cash. They don't give two shits about the poor. You had better believe it. The poor pay more as a percentage of their taxes than the very, VERY rich do, the 1% of the 1%. 

America has a great wealth disparity and it has only grown. The poor are being sucked dry. Sure someone can make the argument "Well, you don't have to play" but desperate people will always do DESPERATE THINGS and I think it should be illegal to prey upon them. 

America has increasingly become a profit centered, money hungry, ultra capitalist, "Money grubbing Pig" of a country. And this will lead to our demise.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Being late is better than never

AUTHOR: MochaG - ()

Yes, lottery system is designed to get money from those who buy the tickets. They lure people in using greed (allow a few extremely high rewards with plentiful of extremely small rewards). If you are not into it, good for you. If you are in it and cannot afford it, get out of it immediately.


For the pititful few who actually win one of the major prizes, the rest of us who need that money for bills are tired of losing.


That's what you deserve when you cannot really afford it. You were buying a dream that is nearly impossible, so don't complain.

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#4 Consumer Comment

You will continue to play.

AUTHOR: Inspector - ()

 You are just angry because you don't have the money to play right now, but you will play again. You can't help it. The lottery is the government's way to put tax on stupidity.

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