By Steve Beauregard
As a Colorado native and resident, I frequently play either the state’s lotto game, or one of the many varieties of Colorado Lottery scratch game tickets. I’ve always known my odds were long, however up until recently, I had no idea how much better my odds were when entering those losing tickets into the Colorado Lottery’s second chance drawings.
As part of the research involved in this website, I’ve studied the second chance lottery scratch off ticket drawings for many of the nation’s lotteries. Interestingly enough, I’ve found Colorado’s to have one of the best odds of winning a big payday in the second go around.
While other states, (Texas and California) have millions of entries for nice, but relatively modest prizes, (football game season tickets, for example), the Colorado Lottery’s second chance drawing system definitely makes it worth the time and effort to enter those non-winning tickets.
In the California Lottery’s Second Chance program, for example, you’ll often have millions of second chance entries competing for one of their measly $15,000 2nd chance drawing prizes. The Texas Lottery’s second chance drawing sees similar numbers for their contests in which they give away season tickets to Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texan games.
While we all know them as second chance drawings, the Colorado Lottery has begun referring to them as “Bonus Draws.”
Colorado Lottery Bonus Draws Second Chance Prizes
In our state, however, there are often times when only 150,000 to 200,000 entries compete for ¼ of a million, half a million, or even one million dollars.
Unlike in other states, such as the Oregon Lottery Second Chance Drawing, where second chance drawing information is public and easily available, Colorado doesn’t go out of their way to disclose this information. So I’ve contacted the Colorado Lottery for their data on these drawings.
They’ve informed me that in a recent $10 game (Lucky 13), there were only 101,283 entries into the second chance drawing that gave away a top prize of $253,000.
Another $10 scratch ticket game, the $250,000 Mysterious Crossword Multiplier, had more than double the entries, but still only 206,455. A $20 game, the recent “Barrage of Bucks / Capital Gains” saw only 150,194 entries.
More recently, the Colorado Lottery has become more transparent as to the number of second chance drawing entries received. And from these figures, we see that participation seems to be increasing. Since 2020, the number of entries into second chance drawings for “big” prizes (which I define as $250,000 or higher), range from 180,000 entries to just over 1/2 million.
From what I’ve been able to calculate, the participation rate into second-chance games is generally in the 10 to 20% range of all tickets sold. Which means that a good 8 out 10 scratch players aren’t even entering!
Enter Those Losing Colorado Lottery Tickets.
What this means for us Colorado Lottery players is that we certainly need to keep, and enter those losing tickets, as our odds are much better in the 2nd chance drawing, than they are in the original game.
For example, in a recent “Financial Fortress” $10 scratch-off ticket game, the odds of winning the top prize, ($250,000) were 1 in 480,000. However assuming around 250,000 second chance entries, your chances of winning the quarter million were around 2 times greater when playing the second chance.
Similarly, this comes into play when prizes are ½ million and higher. (The Colorado lottery has had $750K and even $3 million second chance drawing giveaway prizes).
Often, the Colorado Lottery offered a series of different $20 scratch tickets, in which the first place prize is one million dollars. There are typically either two or three of these $1 million dollar prizes, and the total number of available tickets are $2.4 million.
With three first place million dollar prizes up for grabs, your odds of winning the million dollars were 1 in 800,000.
However we know that far fewer people enter these tickets into the second chance drawing. Since the start of 2020, drawings for prizes of $500,000 or more have averaged 410,631 second-chance entries. Again, the second chance drawing gives you twice as great a chance of winning life-changing money.
In fact, by simply using your phone and the Colorado Lottery official app to scan the code at the bottom of your ticket, you’re giving yourself a roughly 1 in 400,000 chance of serious money. Compare this to the Powerball, where your odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175 million.
This big prize and low entry pool really makes it worth your while to enter the non-winning tickets in the state’s online entry form. After tax, your prize could be in the $600,000 range ($1 million minus 40% state and federal taxes). Using our assumption that there are only 400,000 entries, this means that each losing ticket has an approximate expected value of $1.50 after tax. I don’t know about you, but if I see a dollar fifty in the trash, I’m digging it out.
Colorado Lotto Second Chance Drawings – Jackpot Bonus Draws
Unlike the scratch game tickets, your losing lotto tickets have only a few shots a big second chance drawing prize.
In the past, this has happened annually at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo in late August or early September, when they gave away brand new cars, like Dodge trucks. If I recall, there was a second chance drawing where they gave away several of the new Volkswagen Beatles.Other big prizes one year included a new Ford F-150 with a trailer, with a second place prize of $3,000, and third of $1,000.
In 2017 the top prize was a 2017 Dodge Challenger SXT. They also gave away the $3,000 and $1,000 second and third place prizes.
They also gave away $300 in scratch tickets to 11 different winners. Tickets could be entered at Safeway, Albertons, or at any Colorado lottery.
In other years, they’ve given away just one $20,000 top prize, along with a couple of smaller $1,000 and $3,000 prizes. Also unlike the scratch game tickets, the losing lotto tickets must be either physically dropped off at a state lottery office, or at the State Fair in Pueblo.
Now, there’s the Jackpot Bonus Draw system, where you can enter losing lotto tickets online via Colorado Lottery’s app. You have to have a MyLottery account however. A holiday Jackpot Bonus drawing on January 2022 has a prize of just $1,000.
How to Enter Colorado Lottery Second Chance Scratch Ticket Drawings
While you used to be able to drop your losing scratch tickets off at your nearest state lottery office, (or mail them in), now you can only enter the drawing online.
What you do is register online for free at the state’s official website, ColoradoLottery.com, and simply enter the 22 digit number for the losing ticket.
Alternatively, you can download the lottery’s app on your smartphone, and scan the losing ticket as means for your entry.
Also keep in mind that the Colorado Lottery frequently runs special, one time only second chance promotional drawings in which you can physical drop off a non-winning ticket at a retailer who they are promoting. These drawings, however, consist of only small prizes, such as a few more lottery tickets, and aren’t really worth the hassle in my view.
What is worth the hassle is entering those $10 and $20 tickets into the drawings. Prizes of $250,000, ½ million, and even one million dollars (with only 150,000 entries sometimes), means these Colorado Lottery second chance drawings are some of the best get-rich-quick odds you’ll find.
(Photos courtesy of the Colorado Lottery’s news page).