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Coronavirus causes shortage of California Lottery Scratchers

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Lady Luck is not smiling on some people hoping to get their hands on California Lottery Scratcher tickets. The pandemic has made them hard to find.

The shortage has already cost California and convenience stores a lot of money.

The lottery ticket vending machines, all seven of them at Fulton Square Liquors & Jr Market in Sherman Oaks, were empty. No scratchers for sale. The owner says it’s been like this for the past three weeks.

They’re not alone.

At Blue Bird Liquor in Hawthorne, they’re still waiting for their ticket order.

“I don’t have any scratchers for a month. That’s the business over here, the scratcher. Because we sell a lot of scratchers, we get a lot of winners from the scratchers, that’s why we’re waiting for the scratchers,” said Ronald Maren, an employee with Blue Bird Liquor employee.

Stores across the state are seeing a shortage of scratchers. The games where players scratch off part of the tickets to reveal whether they’re a winner have become harder to find during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources with The California State Lottery tell Eyewitness News that the Southern California distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga closed on Thursday for cleaning. Lottery officials confirm a worker at that facility tested positive for COVID-19.

The California State Lottery says it is following strict physical distancing protocols at its distribution centers.

A statement reads in part:

There is an approximate four to five week delay in fulfilling retailer orders. We are currently implementing a number of strategies to mitigate the impacts and improve delivery time frames to meet the needs of our players and retailers.

The National Association of Convenience Stores says scratchers, which have 57 different games, make up more than 75% of lottery sales. The scratcher shortage means stores lose out on sales, and less money is raised for public education.

California Lottery would not say exactly how much has been lost.

The coronavirus pandemic has made it hard to find California Lottery Scratcher tickets. The shortage of tickets could last weeks.

Does lottery vending machines in US have all types of lotteries to buy and play?

Know how to buy a lotto ticket from a vending machine

Recently a L.A. Woman’s used California lottery vending machines and had an awesome $1 Million Win! Elizabeth Whitaker the winner told the press after winning that she never buys lotteries from behind the doggone counter but prefers to buy lottery tickets from vending machines because she always wins something buying lotto tickets from machines.

She walked right over to the Lottery vending machine inside Perez Market (6107 South Vermont Avenue), bought a Million Dollar Multiplier game, and walked out of the place an instant millionaire! Whitaker followed her intuition, bought from her lucky vending machine and won the game’s $1 million top prize.

Like all Lottery Scratchers, Million Dollar Multiplier comes with a second chance to win another great prize of up to $25,000 during weekly draw.

Where are lottery vending machines located?

Lottery vending machines are located almost at most of the US states at retailers where lottery is legal to play.

In the United States, lotteries are run by 47 jurisdictions: 44 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The states that offer lotteries are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. You cannot find lottery vending machines in Alabama, Utah and Nevada.

The first lottery vending machine came in 1991 and the Virginia Lottery installed instant ticket vending machines. In 2012 the New Mexico Lottery’s version of terminal-based instant- win games, Quicksters, were first such games to be sold through self-service vending machines, utilizing INTRALOT’s WinStation. Note that not all lottery retailers have the vending machines at their stores.

Types of lotteries that you can buy from a vending machine

There are various types of lottery tickets to buy and play. If you want to buy a lottery ticket from a vending machine then you can buy scratch cards or instant scratchies, daily games, jackpot games, Print ‘n Play, draw games and Raffle tickets. At many US states you can even buy lotto games like Powerball and Mega Millions from vending machines.

These machines have wider variety of tickets and makes it much easier for players to buy the tickets. New vending machines are in high-traffic stores where they can pay for themselves and have the most up-to-date technology. The new machines actually have a touch-screen front so that you can look at a particular ticket and actually turn it over and do a lot more than just look at the front side of the ticket.

Along with different scratch game tickets, the new machines will allow people to play such draw games as Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto, Cash 5, Lucky for Life, Play 4, Play 4 and Keno. Players can fill out a draw game play slip and insert into the Lottery Vending Machine or choose their numbers, or a quick pick, on the screen. The draw game tickets will be printed out exactly as they are printed by a lottery Retailer on a lottery terminal.

The scratch tickets will fall into a tray at the bottom of the lottery vending machine, as they have on the existing machines. Some vending machines also have ticket checker that allows you to scan your tickets to see if you’re a winner.

The Game Machine accepts cash and debit (coming soon to all stores). For cash purchases, it does not give change. Only cash denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 bills accepted. Must be 18 years of age or older to play. Note that there are also many brand gaming providers like IGT and Scientific Games that have their own gaming machines and offers more than 150 lotteries globally, including nearly every North American lottery.

How to buy a lotto ticket from a vending machine?

It’s very easy to buy a lotto ticket from a vending machine. Some machines are simple to use where all you need is to insert $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills. This machine does not give change, so insert the exact amount you would like to play. Select the game or games you’d like to play and push the ticket window. To use all of your credits to play one game, first press the ONE SHOT button then the ticket window for the game you want.

In the self service ticket machines or Game Points you can play your favorite Lottery Draw Games and check tickets for winners with the touch of a finger. Pick the Lottery draw game you’d like to play. Insert $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills. This machine does not give change so insert the exact amount you would like to play. Play by entering your lucky numbers or selecting Quick Pick. You can also select to play multiple sets of numbers for the current draw or Advanced Play for future draws. When you’re finished, you’ll receive your ticket. Always remember to sign the back of it. Check to see if you’re a winner by scanning your ticket below the orange arrow on the front of the self-service ticket machine. Results will be displayed on the monitor.

Lotto vending machines are also called Winstations

WinStations are essentially self-service vending machines that allow Lottery players to purchase draw-style and scratch-off tickets without the aid of a salesperson. These are located in few retailer stores in Louisiana state and few others states of US. Similar to other vending machines, you insert bills into the WinStation, select the draw-style game button or scratch-off game window for the ticket(s) they desire, and the machine automatically dispenses the tickets.

Scan Your Driver’s License. The WinStation must first confirm you are least 21 years old, the minimum age to purchase Lottery tickets.

Insert Exact Bills in the Bill Acceptor. Once your age is verified, the Bill Acceptor lights go from blinking to solid green indicating that you can now enter bills in denominations of $20 or less for up to $100 in purchase credit. WinStations do not give change and all sales are final.

Select Game Button. As you enter bills, your credits appear on the screen and draw-style game buttons light up indicating enough funds to make that purchase. Using the one-touch yellow buttons below the game logos, you can purchase Quick Pick tickets for Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto, Easy 5, Pick 3 and Pick 4 valid for the next drawing. The different prices provide multiple plays. For Pick 3 and Pick 4, these buttons will produce straight plays. To purchase a scratch-off game, simply select the button of the game you desire. The ticket cost appears below the button. If that game is no longer available in the machine, the message “Out” appears instead of the ticket cost.

Also you can insert a Completed Playslip in the Playslip Reader Slot. If you want to choose your own numbers, play a box or combo for Pick 3 or Pick 4, or to add options like multidraw, Power Play, Megaplier or ezmatch, visit the Lottery Play Center at your retailer and fill out a playslip using black or blue ink. Insert the slip face-up into the Playslip Reader slot. If your playslip is not filled out correctly or if there are not enough credits to purchase what is selected on the playslip, the WinStation will prompt you to insert more money or select another product.

The WinStation will deduct the proper amount of credits required for your selection and dispense your ticket(s) in the bottom tray or draw-style ticket dispenser. You can continue to make product selections until all purchase credits are used. The WinStation does not dispense change.

Note that WinStations will dispense scratch-offs as long as there is power. WinStations will not generate tickets for draw-style games if satellite communication is down or during a game’s draw break. For Powerball and Mega Millions, the draw break is 9-10 p.m. on the night of the drawing. For all other draw-style games, the draw break starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts only a few minutes. Any tickets purchased after a draw break are good for the next regularly scheduled drawing.

You can use the WinStation to check your lotto tickets

To check the value of any state Lottery ticket, center the bar code on the front of your ticket three to four inches below the “Did You Win?” scanner. The screen will indicate whether your ticket is a winner and its value. You do not have to scan your driver’s license in order to check a ticket – only to make a purchase. Obviously, the drawing has to have occurred for the WinStation to check draw-style game tickets.

Also note that the WinStation does not dispense cash or pay prizes in cash. However, if your ticket has won $25 or less, you can scan it again to have the WinStation validate it and receive CREDIT to make a purchase at the machine. This includes free tickets. When validating a free-ticket prize, you will receive purchase credit equal to the price point of the ticket redeemed.

If your ticket is worth between $26 and $600, the WinStation will indicate the prize amount and prompt you to take your ticket to a retailer to claim your winnings. If your ticket is worth more than $600, the WinStation will prompt you to sign the back and claim your prize at a Lottery office.

Interested in buying a lottery from vending machine, then find one near you.

Does lottery vending machines in US have all types of lotteries to buy and play?; Find the lotto machine near you and know how to buy lottery ticket