Me, The Lottery and Scratch Cards

calculate winningsI have always known I was going to win on the Lottery. And win big.

When the UK Lottery started on 19th November 1994 I dressed up, no word of a lie, because I’d convinced myself I was going to be the winner that first night and that the BBC would be sure to send a helicopter or a limmo to bring me to the studio pronto to be discussing the First Big Win and it would be mine, all mine. It didn’t happen that night.

But a few weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, I got the first five numbers in the order they were drawn. It might have been four, memory fails me. Anyway, it’s what you need. You need each one as it comes out of the “bag” obviously. It being a Bank Holiday I had to wait about three DAYS before I discovered that I had won a very paltry sum indeed. £84 approx. And that after I’d haunted the corner shop daily, stalking Mr Patel.

Disgusted, I gave up; £84 was too small a win for five numbers. I persuaded my best friend we would be better off putting our £1 in a jar once a week; we already knew the chances of our contracting AIDS were greater than our chances of winning The Big One and, since we are both mathematicians, you can guess the rest. Was it once a week when it started? I think so. It may have been £2. Anyway, we put it in a jar instead and once a year we bought ourselves treats with the cash we’d saved. One year we went to Paris. Another year we went to Edinburgh. Another year a very expensive pair of shoes, I remember. We saved our money in £1 and £2 coins in a terramundi pot, love those.

And then, a goodly while later, another friend taught me to see the Lottery in a new light, as a charitable donation. When I didn’t win, good causes did. Fair enough. I was back in. Like Flynn. And I’ve been doing it online ever since. Only now its £8 a week, what with the Euromillions. And although I’ve had some lucky £25 wins, it’s mostly £3.50. And I’ve only won once in 2015, just £3.50 since November 2014. I must say I’m disappointed because, you’ll remember, I’ve always known I was going to win big with the Lottery. But it doesn’t seem to be happening… yet.

Or is it?

Now trust me when I say I had a very good reason to try scratch cards a week or so ago. It was a business reason, about which I can tell you more if you are interested. Here’s what I discovered. Firstly here’s how I did it.

I decided I would buy 10 x £1 scratch cards. Only, being a nice girl, I was too embarrassed to do this in one shop. I know, sad. So I spent £6 in the Post Office and £4 in Tesco on the way home. I scratched all ten of them when I got home and apart from being knee-deep in annoying little grey scratchings, I won and I won big. Well I won on five cards out of ten, beating the odds, and my total winnings were £11 against a £10 spend. Mr Micawber would have been pleased with me. I’m ahead.

Now,  obviously, this is not a way to get rich fast. But it IS a 10% ROI (return on investment) which I challenge you to get anywhere else right now. Going forward I am not going to be spending £10 a week in two different shops, bringing them home, scratching, winning and returning to Tesco to collect my winnings for a profit of £1. That’s a slow and inconvenient way to get rich. But here’s what it taught me.

1. It’s a much better bet than the Lottery itself. Everyone else except me has already worked that out it seems, since the global scratch cards market is worth 150-200 billion euros a month. Yes, you read that right.

2. It’s fun.

3. Your win is instant. So’s your loss.

4. You are guaranteed good odds. A win of about 1 in 3 or 4 (cards vary, check the small print. In fact the small print is SO tiny, I had to take my contact lenses OUT to read it).

5. It is EXACTLY the opposite of the Lottery. The Lottery is a teeny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny chance of a mahoosive win, though there are smaller prizes too. Scratch cards are a pretty big chance of a tiny win, though there are bigger prizes too. Thus they are opposite sides of the same coin.

6. It’s exciting. OK, I don’t get out much.

7. It has the propensity to be addictive. You have been warned.

If you love a flutter, you need to talk to me about my new business opportunity. Just use the Contact form to give me your email address and I’ll send you details.

Meanwhile, good luck with your scratchies and do share your stories of winning. I spoke to someone tonight who won £20,000. Not bad, eh?

Are you a Lucky Winner? Do tell!

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