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Myths & Facts

The Truth About Games and Gambling


For most people, gambling is fun. But for others, it can be a serious problem. Some players believe that what they wear, how they play, or when they play, will help them win or at least increase their chances of winning. These are myths and avoiding them is the first step toward becoming a healthy and responsible gambler. Below is a compilation of myths that surround lottery games and gambling and the facts that dispel them.


Myth: Players can control the outcome of a Lottery game.

Fact: It is impossible for a player to control the outcome of a game. There is nothing that you can do before, during or after Lottery game play that can improve your chances of winning. While playing Video LotterySM games, for example, hitting the stop button will not impact the outcome of play in any way. In fact, the outcome of each Video LotterySM game is determined as soon as you hit the play button.

Myth: If I win a big prize, I can remain anonymous.

Fact: Certain information about Oregon Lottery® winners is a matter of public record, including the name of the winner, amount of the prize, date of the draw, name of the game played and city in which the winner lives. Oregon citizens have a right to know that Lottery prizes are indeed being awarded to real persons. However, we do not give out any phone numbers, addresses or any other personal information.

Myth: If a Scratch-itsSM game says it has odds of winning a prize of 1:4, for example, that means if I buy four Scratch-its in that game, at least one of those four should be a winner.

Myths about Video Lottery
Fact: The odds stated on the back of all Scratch-it tickets are the overall odds of winning a prize in that game. For example, if the overall odds of winning a prize in a game are 1 in 4, it means that if 4 million tickets are printed for that particular game, 1 million will be winners, which are randomly placed throughout the entire run of Scratch-it tickets. As with all of our games, receiving one of those winning tickets is simply a matter of chance. Because of this random placement, it is possible to get a string of non-winners in a row, just as it’s possible to buy a similar number of tickets and get several winners in a row. Although we can't guarantee that everyone will be a winner, we can guarantee that each player has a fair and equal chance of winning a prize.

Myth: If I study past winning numbers, it will help me select future winning numbers.

Fact: The winning number frequency charts for Powerball®, Megabucks® and Keno are very popular and are updated periodically on the Oregon Lottery's Web site. Even though they are fun to analyze, frequency charts will not improve your chances of picking the winning numbers. Each game drawing is a totally random selection process, so every number has an equal chance of being drawn at any given time.

Myth: Only poor and uneducated people play the Oregon Lottery.

Fact: Research consistently shows that the “typical Oregon Lottery player” is the “typical Oregonian,” in terms of age, income and education. 63% of the total adult population in Oregon have played at least one Oregon Lottery game in their lives. They are equally likely to be male or female, have an average age of 47 years old, have some college education, and a median household income of $45,000

Myth: The Oregon Lottery receives state tax dollars to operate.

Fact: The Lottery is entirely self-financed through its ticket sales and receives no General Fund or tax dollars to operate.

Myth: Some Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) or Lottery games are “due” to pay.

Fact: All outcomes – wins and losses – are entirely random. There is no set pattern and no way to predict the outcome of a game.

Myth: VLT payouts can be adjusted at anytime from the Oregon Lottery Headquarters.

Fact: While VLTs and the Lottery’s central computer system are constantly communicating, the Lottery’s central computer can’t make changes to the way specific games play, nor can it make any changes to the payout rates. Software located within each VLT controls all information specific to the games, including their payout rates and their randomness. The software runs independently from the central computer system.

Myth: If someone wins a jackpot and chooses the annuity option and they become deceased after they’ve started receiving prize payments, the state gets the remainder of the prize.

Fact: If a jackpot winner chooses an annuity payment plan for a jackpot prize, and passes away before all of the payments have been received, the remaining payments will go to the designated heir(s) or the estate. At the time the winning ticket is redeemed, the prize recipient has the opportunity to complete a form and designate an heir.

Myth: When the Oregon Lottery first began, Oregon public schools got all the money.

Fact: When the Lottery was established by a vote of Oregonians in 1984, all Lottery proceeds went to economic development. Oregonians have approved Constitutional amendments allowing Lottery funds be directed to other broad categories including public education in 1995, and natural resource programs in 1998. Some funds are constitutionally dedicated by voters. Then, every two years, Oregon's Legislature and Governor appropriate the remainder of Lottery funds within those categories approved by voters.

Myth: Some Video Lottery terminals can be “hotter” than others.

Fact: When you play a VLT, each play result is drawn from all possible combinations and the chances of winning are always the same. The number of past wins or losses has nothing to do with when the next payout will come. This means there is no such thing as a “hot” machine.

Myth: It is possible to “chase” and recoup losses.

Fact: Video Lottery terminals are programmed to pay out less than they take in over a long period of time. Players should remember that any type of Oregon Lottery game should be considered a form of entertainment and should not be played for investment purposes.


For information on problem gambling go to http://www.1877mylimit.org/

Special thanks to the Atlantic Lottery Corp. for a portion of this information.

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Oregon Lottery • 500 Airport Road SE, Salem, OR, 97301 • PO Box 12649 Salem, OR, 97309-0649 • www.oregonlottery.org
Phone: 503-540-1000 • Fax: 503-540-1001 • Email: lottery.webcenter@state.or.us