Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code

This is an older article that appeared in Wired Magazine, but it just came up at work in conversation and I wanted to post it because I found it so fascinating. It’s about a brilliant guy named Mohan Srivastava that figured out how to crack scratch-off lottery tickets. Sounds like science fiction, but it actually happened. What’s crazy is, he tried to let Ontario know there was a problem with their lottery tickets, and they blew him off at first until he sent them this letter:

In the enclosed envelopes, I have sent you two groups of 10 TicTacToe tickets that I purchased from various outlets around Toronto in the past week… You go ahead and scratch off the cards. Maybe you can give one batch to your lottery ticket specialist. After you’ve scratched them off, you should have a pretty solid sense for whether or not there’s something fishy here.