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My Collection of Unscratched Lottery Tickets


Forgive the self-indulgence, but the reason I was willing to go all-out in my coverage of the unveiling of the Redskins' instant lottery ticket is because of my own vested interest in those cardboard rectangles of scratchable magic. See, I used to collect unscratched instant lottery tickets from a variety of states and nations, which my friends helped gather from around the globe. See the image above. I keep them all in a little box, a box that I dutifully brought to the Redskins' press conference to show off.

"What if you got a winner in that box?" Clinton Portis asked. "That's some big money, and you're around here, asking me questions. You could be gone. I think you should scratch them off. One day, just sit down and scratch all the ones off."

I pointed out that they were expired.

"Oh, that blows," Portis said. "Now what if you could have been rich?"

Being rich, I said, is overrated.

"Definitely," Portis said. "But I'm not rich."

Ha. So who's actually rich, if Clinton Portis isn't?

"Mr. Snyder," Portis said.

I also showed my collection to Chris Cooley.

"Why do you do that?" he asked me, appropriately. "I don't know what you want me to say," he added. There's not much to say, really. As he pointed out, they're not even nicely displayed in an album; they just sit there in a box. I asked him if he plays the lotto.

"I would like to play the lottery a lot," Cooley said, "but it's not a very good investment." Don't listen to him, Redskins fans. Go play Redskins Mania.

I also showed my collection to Paula I. Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery.

"That's very fun," she said.

I argued that for collectors like me, we'd much rather see a $1 ticket than a $20 ticket, since we're not angling for the prize money anyhow.

"Well, that's true," she said. "We have lots of $1s and $2s for you also, just not a Redskins one. The prizes were too valuable to have it at a lower price point."

We then discussed how most of my mint-condition tickets are now expired.

"But you know," she said brightly, "the unclaimed prizes go to the literary fund, at least in Virginia they do....So you may have built a school or two."

My good deed of the decade. Maybe they can name one of those schools after me. Better than "Winding Forest Road of Liberty and Freedom," or whatever they name those new Virginia public schools. Which are supported by the lottery. Which is awesome.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 8, 2009; 9:58 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins , Weirdness  
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Next: Jim Zorn: Wisdom Nuggets and Orange Headphones


Kudos you freak!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 8, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Is this just a plug to get sent more various and sundry scratch-offs? Pretty low, but I'll bite. Maybe I can find the mythical Utah Lottery scratch-off.

Posted by: prcizmadia | June 8, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Just when I think Steinberg is cool, he trots something like this out and re-convinces me that he probably spent High School stuffed in a locker and spent College playing World of War Craft.

Posted by: wahoo2x | June 8, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Interesting hobby. I guess by not having a lot of money, whenever I got a lottery ticket i wanted to find out if I won!

Sounded like Cooley was like, "uuhhh, do I know you?" Portis seemed like a nice guy, although I think we would consider him pretty rich. If you live in Great Falls, you're rich.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | June 8, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Can Vegans play the Makin Bacon game?

Posted by: metatext | June 9, 2009 2:22 AM | Report abuse

You know.. they can SCAN the ticket to see if you win without you actually having to scratch it.

Posted by: LVLV | June 9, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

This is so cool. Do you want to see my collection of un-eaten ham sandwiches? I keep them in a box in my basement.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | June 9, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling this is Dan's coy plan to have us all send him unused lotto tickets, in an effort to increase his chances of actually winning. He can then "retire" from his job in a dying industry and go back to his true love: working in a cheese market.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | June 10, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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