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Sure, you go to the convenience store or the gas station and the racks are there at the counter looking so inviting and colorful, and there is the promise of walking home with your winnings. You get a couple of dollars change and the temptation is there to use it on a sctrach-off (it's even a generous gesture to allow the kids to perform the duties).

Unfortunately, the odds on scratch-and-win and other similar instant games are so high and the prize is usually so low that the best advice is not to play them at all.

In may states, a one dollar ticket comes with a promise of a one-in-ten chance of winning five dollars. Your first impression might be that those sound like good odds. But in reality, it actually means that you have almost no chance of winning a substantial amount of money and only a slim chance of breaking even.

If you feel that you must buy a scratch-off, don't play any game that the big prize is less than $10,000. But don't buy more that a few tickets. It's all luck, and if luck smiles on you, a bigger prize could be yours. Keep in mind, however, that in such games, while the number $10,000 may appear at least once on many cards, the actual number of winning $10,000 cards are very few.

Better games of chance are lotteries. There is no instant gratification, but the odds are better, particularly if you take the time to learn some of the strategies in picking numbers. While these strategies are still no guarantee that you will win, you are improving your chances. With scratch-and-play, there is are no strategies. You simply pay your dollar and take your chance.

While if youÆre looking to make a fast buck, scratch-off games are not the best way to do that, scratch-off games often do provide great entertainment. Where else can you gamble not at a casino with a game of luck, and possibly enjoy a cheap thrill? Many people buy scratch-off games for friends and family members as gifts. They make great party favors, as well. The joy of having a chance at great winnings can lighten anyoneÆs day.