MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's time for some real talk about the lottery. We've all imagined what we would do with our winnings: pay off our credit, the mortgage, maybe get a new car, or a take a nice vacation. Numbers don't lie, and this story has the tips you can start applying today to increase your chance of winning.
"Once you see a nice little chunk of change on there, you get a rush," Wesnesky says. When asked if playing the lottery is a little big addictive, he says with a laugh, "Definitely a little bit
The day he'll never forget? Super Bowl 44 - the Saints versus the Colts.
"At halftime we were bored, so all the guys are like just throw in $10 or $20 bucks and we'll get some scratch offs," he explains. The first round wasn't impressive, but then, "One buddy was scratching, and all of a sudden he got really quiet. We checked it for like 10 minutes, and finally realized we just hit 100 grand! The feeling was crazy!"
Josh and his buddies were so blinded by the winning light they didn't even realize who won the Super Bowl until the next day. They divvied the $100,000 pot - offering a welcomed fresh start.
"We weren't broke or anything, but we could all use a little bit to help us out," Wesnesky says. "So first of all, I put a little in my daughter's saving account for her college fund, paid off some credit cards, and sat on some savings in case of an emergency."
We all know the chances are not in our favor of winning, but that doesn't stop most of us from daydreaming about being the next winner, even though the odds are one in 175 million. For some perspective, you have a better chance of being killed by a shark, an asteroid, or a comet before you take home the big prize!
Still want to play? Let's talk strategy. Taking a look at local numbers requested from the South Carolina Education Lottery, you have a better chance of winning with scratch-offs. Since 2009, there have been 170 jackpot winners in seven counties. Of those winners, 127 of those were scratch-off winners. The only catch: scratch-offs are typically smaller jackpots than Powerball or Mega Millions.
Also data shows you have a drastically higher chance of winning in Horry County, followed by Florence and then Darlington County.
The top station that keeps on handing out those golden tickets is The Coward Truck stop. Four big prizes of more than $50,000 have been sold there over the last four years. With that kind of record on the line, WMBF News' Heather Biance started scratching, and three tickets, later she won $100!
Now let's talk about the Powerball. The most frequently drawn numbers are: 29, 20, 33 and 2. However, the lucky numbers you normally pick may not be the way to go. Powerball statistics show that about 70 to 80 percent of all winners are from quick picks.
If you're trying your luck with Mega Millions, numbers 48, 36 and 2 are the ones to bet on.
With one scratch-off win under her belt, Heather said she now understands Josh's crazy scratch-off ritual.
"We all like to put them up and give a scratch-off high five," he says. "That's basically our little thing."
One last tip is from the guy who's figured it all out. Go to the "Prizes Remaining" tab of South Carolina's Lottery website, it shows you how many winning tickets are still out in circulation statewide, and how much money is on the line. Josh's rule: play the scratch-offs with the highest number of winning tickets still floating around.
Check out the South Carolina Lottery's Prizes Remaining page here:
Another tip: some scratch-offs offer a second chance promotion, meaning even if you don't win big, you still have a chance to win something. Josh has won gifts, prize packages, and even an all expense paid trip for him and his friends to go to the Daytona 500. The trip included cash, food, and even Paul McCartney's old tour bus as their home away from home!
See a list of tickets with second chance promotions here:
Click here to see a table that breaks down, by county in our viewing area, where the most winners and highest total winnings were: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/25512082/breakdown-of-lottery-winners-by-county
If you're curious about when and where the biggest scratch-off prizes were awarded, Heather Biance crunched the numbers and got a full list of winners from the SC Education Lottery. View the list in PDF format here: