Big lottery jackpots have been making headlines lately and if you're still waiting to hit it big, there is an easy way to increase your odds.
There are dozens of scratch off games in Illinois and across the nation each year, and they are increasingly popular among those looking to get rich quick.
Hitting a $500 jackpot would be nice, and $10,000,000 would be even better, but players should not be quick to judge a ticket by its title, because the biggest prizes advertised on those tickets may not actually be available.
That's because tickets can remain on sale after all of the top prizes have been claimed. There is a process for taking instant games out of circulation after all of the top prizes have been claimed, but that could take up to three weeks.
Retailers are allowed to continue selling those tickets until lottery officials collect them, but finding out which prizes are still available before purchasing a ticket is simple.
The Illinois Lottery posts information about each game on its website.
That information includes how many prizes are available for each game, how much each prize is worth, and how many of each prize still remains.
Retailers can also look up that information at the store if anyone asks.
"I didn't know I could look to see what the actual prizes are that were still left, so that's very good to know," says Gina Chambers.
Like Chambers, most of the lottery players we polled say they had no idea this information was available, but all of them say they plan to check before choosing their next tickets.
Can you increase your odds of hitting it big on scratch-off lottery tickets?