STOP Using Those “Secret Codes” on Lottery Scratch Off Tickets!

By: Jared James, Founder
Secret Scratch Codes Revealed

If you’ve ever scratched an instant lottery ticket, you’ve probably noticed those 2-3 letter codes hidden around the play area.  Maybe you wondered what they were or even heard they were an easy way to know if you won a prize.  That was so 1990’s! 

Before computers began validating lottery scratch off tickets, state lotteries used 2-3 random letters as a “secret code” for retailers to validate a winning prize especially with some of the more complicated scratch-off tickets. The codes were usually for prizes $500/$600 or less and revealed once the scratch-off coating was removed.


However, in recent years, lotteries began moving toward digital confirmation.  Some states even went as far as removing these secret codes because many ticket players misinterpreted them. This often led to players thinking they won a bigger prize than they actually did or thinking they held a non-winning ticket when, in fact, they had a winning ticket.

Want to know if your scratch ticket is a winner or not?

There are 3 recommended ways to confirm if you have a winning ticket:

  • Retailer: Take the ticket to your lottery retailer to have it checked on their lottery terminal.
  • Self-Serve: Use a Lottery Ticket Checker at select retailers.
  • Go Mobile: Scan the barcode (under the scratch-off coating) with your Lottery’s mobile app.

Even if your state still uses a 2-3 letter code on their scratch-off tickets, it is best to have an authorized retailer scan the ticket for you or scan the ticket yourself by using the Lottery mobile application to avoid any confusion. Players are encouraged by the lotteries to NOT solely rely on these codes when validating the winning value of a ticket.

2 thoughts on “STOP Using Those “Secret Codes” on Lottery Scratch Off Tickets!


    1. Hi Jill! It looks like you are looking at the NJ Lottery tickets. Currently they offer three $10 Crossword games. There is just one $250,000 prize remaining for game #01694. The other two games are completely out of top prizes. You can see this info by clicking on the name of a game and viewing the prize count information. Hope that helps. Good luck!

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