According to the Toronto Star, "statistician Mohan Srivastava...discovered a way the tickets could be decoded to predict a winner on the game 'Tic Tac Toe'" in 2003.
"Srivastava would look at the numbers on the ticket, and if a sequence of numbers was lined up in tic-tac-toe fashion and were not repeated anywhere else on the ticket, it was likely a winner.
"'If someone explained the trick to you, I think, I actually know, a child could do it,'" Srivastava said.
"He contacted the OLG (Ontario Lottery & Gaming) about the trend, and while the corporation recalled unsold tickets of the game, it never went public with the information."This raises the question of whether or not scratch-off lotteries are truly randomized. Common sense would dictate that, since there are a fixed number of prizes and payouts, it, by nature, cannot be--which is why lotteries are required to post public notices when prizes are claimed and to pull all remaining tickets after the grand prize has been won.Otherwise, people would be buying tickets that have literally no chance of winning, not just no actual chance of winning in this lifetime.In 2008, CNN reported:"USA Today estimates that about half of the 42 states that have lotteries were, as of early July, continuing to sell tickets after the top prizes are claimed. Lottery officials from some states say the practice is fair because lesser prizes are still available, and they say tickets and lottery Web sites make that clear.
"In New Jersey, tickets for the "$1,000,000 Explosion" scratch-off game were still on sale last week, even though the million-dollar grand prize was already awarded.
"Lottery ticket buyers outside a New Jersey convenience store were stunned to hear the news.
"'Oh really? I didn't know that,'" one shopper told CNN. Another added, "'That's just not right.'"Fortunately, the states actually do move pretty quickly to get "dead" scratchers off the market. Because, as Marc Fisher commented in the Washington Post, "It's admittedly a bit far-fetched to expect that your average scratch-off card buyer--an impulse buy if there ever were one--to first check in on the lottery's web page to see which games still have the most prizes extant."Oh, and that silver stuff you scratch off on the ticket itself? It's latex.