Why do so many New Jersey residents play scratch-off lottery games?

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New Jersey Lottery launched a new, oversized scratch-off lottery game this week to coincide with the lottery’s 50th anniversary.

The announcement got News 12’s Brian Donohue thinking – why do so many New Jerseyans play scratch-off lottery games? Donohue headed to Bayonne – the city in the Garden State that sells the most lottery tickets than any other in the state.

It was there that he found many people playing scratch-off games at the many delis and grocery stores in the city. He said that many of them even had little counters for customers to lean on to scratch off their tickets right there in the store.

RELATED: NJ Lottery to release biggest Scratch-Off game ever to celebrate 50th anniversary 

The oversized scratch-off game was announced on the same day that lottery officials also held a news conference to kick off Problem Gambling Awareness Month – a coincidence that Donohue thought was strange, but not apparently to lottery officials.

“I don’t see that there’s any irony in us going out there and telling the public that if you have a problem with gambling that there are opportunities and places to go for help,” says New Jersey Lottery executive director James Carey.

Carey says that playing the lottery should be fun – which is the reason many lottery players gave Donohue as to why they play scratch-offs – fun.

But Donohue says that the odds of winning big on scratch-offs are not in the player’s favor. He says that the lottery’s edge is between 25-45%. This means that for every $1 a person plays, they will get back 55-75 cents.

New Jersey Lottery offers 95 different scratch-off games. The new Super 50 scratch-off game costs $10 per game.

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