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How to craft a winning game plan

March 1, 2020 Posted by NC Lottery at 1:00 PM

If you’re superstitious, you might be wearing green during the month of March and trying your luck. Or, you might be wearing your favorite basketball team’s colors in hopes of bringing home college basketball gold.

We hope you find some luck, no matter your choice of basketball teams, but we also want you to Play Smart when you’re chasing your lottery dreams.

How do you do that? It’s time to open up your lottery playbook and get your game plan ready.

The playbook gives you the inside scoop on lottery games to help you craft a winning game plan each time you pick up your favorite scratch-off or draw game ticket.

Here are a few winning strategies.

  • Not feeling like yourself? It might be a sign to call for a sub and take a breather.
  • Don’t go chasing losses. Both winning and losing are part of the game.
  • Don’t borrow money to play. It might be time to hit the bench if you can’t afford to get in the game.

Another winning strategy in the Play Smart playbook is knowing when it’s time to call a time-out for you or someone you love.

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Why does it matter? Because it’s a conversation worth having. If playing the lottery stops being fun and it stops feeling like just a game, you have a team full of folks that can step in and help.

Guess what? Resources are completely free. Free to call, free to chat, free to talk and free to get the help you need through counseling and treatment.

  • Text "morethanagamenc" to 53342
  • Call toll-free at (877) 718-5543
  • Chat at

Now get in there and have some fun. Remember, when you play the lottery, Play Smart.



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5/25/2020 09:35 - JIM B.

Mark-I do like your way of thinking! And love your math!I gave up on scratch-offs over a year ago. Finally figured it out that the odds were skewered way too much to the wrong side. To buy 2 tickets at 20.00 each (i was always afraid i would leave the winner on the 2nd one), and to sit back and realize that i just blew 40.00 for nothing, made my mind up that i was losing to an institution that hides behind the play for and support education banner. However i am still stupid enough to play the bi-weekly draw games with that same 40.00. Difference being, now (IF) i win, it will be something more than receiving my 20.00 back. Thanks for your commentary-it was enlightening for sure!

5/11/2020 01:06 - Mark M.

If there are 600,000 $20 winners in a $20 scratch-off game....Those tickets do not benefit the player AT ALL!! No one gets there $20 back! Even if they did, they are still out!! Time/gas money/sadness that your matching number wasn't a big winner!!! But that 1-20 tickets are a winner goes to 1-3 tickets!!! And that pay-out percentage goes wayyyy up!! That's why they got rid of the "free ticket"......or did they?? No, they made it a "cash pay-out of even money to raise those odds!!! You will get 200 even money wins for every $100 winner.....and of course hundreds of losers in with those 200/$20 (break-even) winners........If you buy 1 $20 ticket every day for 2 years, you might get 1 winner of $500 or more

3/07/2020 12:39 - ella c.

If the lottery is randomly drawn numbers,how is it that when I went to put in my pick 3 numbers the cashier said that those numbers were locked by lottery officials because too many people play those and they don't want to pay that many people at once. Doesn't seem to random if they know the numbers they are not gonna call out.NC Lottery
Hi Ella, our lottery draws certainly are random. We have strict security procedures in place plus they are open to the public to attend - at the WRAL studio in Raleigh. What you are referring to might be what's called a "liability limit", something that's common practice with lotteries and is often put in place for popular numbers.Liability numbers are in place for our Pick 3 and Pick 4 games. Sometimes with popular numbers, the “liability limit” is reached, meaning enough players have selected a number that the lottery must stop sales of that number for that draw. The reason for this is to ensure that the lottery could pay out the prize money should those numbers hit!

3/07/2020 11:30 - Cherylyn C.

I don't have a problem gambling, but Trying to get three tickets through the Check Out process has been especially trying lately!! And please, don't tell me to empty my cache! I do that Regularly, anyway! Half the 'buttons' don't work correctly, and after entering 'My' numbers and clicking on Check Out, it is Super Hard to get the check out process to Start, and Then my Tickets Disappear!! You're bound to be losing $$$ because of this type of frustration with your site! I've tried only accessing the site when I thought it wouldn't be as busy, such as in the morning, but today I had to re-enter my #'s Four Times!!! Why??? I NEVER had this problem with the old site prior to late Oct.!!

3/03/2020 08:48 - Kathryn H.

Thanks for the tips and advice!

3/03/2020 06:51 - john a.

I checked the prizes on the new two dollar scratcher and there are a lot of zeroe's listed. Why is that?NC Lottery
Hi John, our web team is aware of this issue and are working to correct it now. We'll have the prize charts updated soon. Apologies for the inconvenience!

3/02/2020 06:40 - NC Lottery

Hi Moya, It sure sounds like playing the lottery has stopped being fun. But it also sounds like you’ve already started trying to make a change, and that’s awesome. Any of us can understand that making that change often isn’t easy. We know some good folks who are trained clinicians and can provide confidential help. Their service is free and they are available to chat with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If talking on the phone works for you, give them a call at 877-718-5543. You can also text “morethanagamenc” to 53342 or just chat at We wish you the best!

3/02/2020 01:24 - moya B.

I’m addicted to gambling but I have come to a point where I finally realized that enough is enough. I’ve been playing at the sweepstakes for over 10 yrs and just started lottery 5yrs ago. I have stopped and started back I have been in counseling and even attended G.A. nothing seems to work but I am at a point now where I realize enough is enough and I must stop. I am in so much debt right now and I thought playing would help me get out but it’s only gotten worse.

3/01/2020 07:03 - Wendy M.

Yes..a game of chance..

3/01/2020 12:10 - joanie m.

This is good to know my husband says i need Help i no longer get my hair colored or manicures i gamble instead with the money i really enjoy it My dad was a gambler it runs in the family i will call if i start spending bill money. It's great that you have put this information on your website for ones that need someone to talk to about gambling NC Lottery
Hey there Joanie, thanks for contacting us! Please trust your gut instinct and seek help if you need it. It's always helpful to remember that playing the lottery should be another form of fun entertainment for you. We certainly don't want our players to use money they would otherwise spend on bills and other necessities. Cross training is important!

3/01/2020 11:55 - Donovin S.

If the lottery generates millions of dollars for Education, why not have more winners if y'all take almost half the money back anyway? If the ppl feel they have a better chance of winning the more will play . Money pulls the ppl to spend more money .I like playing n supporting our children's Education.

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