Aug 7, 2019 - Things to Do

Former Wells Fargo employee launches Lotto Edge, a data analytics company to help you buy the right scratch-offs

Lotto Edge is a Charlotte-based startup designed to help lottery players find greater success with their scratch-off ticket purchases.

Jared James, a CPA who spent 12 years at Wells Fargo most recently doing mergers and acquisitions work, started Lotto Edge in 2018.

The analytics platform is designed to help scratch-off lovers use data to buy the right scratch off lottery tickets.

Idea: James’s stepfather is a dedicated scratch-off player, requesting them for every birthday and holiday. His lack of winnings inspired James to dive into the stats behind the games to see if he could help players strategize their way to success.

Market size: Last year, total North Carolina lottery ticket sales were a whopping $2.86 billion (up from $2.6 billion the year before). Scratch-offs are just a part of this number, but it’s safe to say that this is a big, growing market. Here’s a full list of over 80 N.C. scratch-offs games, ranging from the $1 “Red Hot Double Doubler” game to the $30 “Supreme Riches” game.

Math: Lotto Edge was created using several algorithms that do the heavy lifting to help players identify their greatest chances of winning before purchasing a scratch-off ticket.

Much of the information used in these algorithms is available to the general public on the NC Education Lottery’s website.

However, crunching the numbers is time-consuming and can be cumbersome, making it unlikely that a casual player is actually going to do it.

Still, even when you’re armed with the stats from Lotto Edge, “I can’t narrow it down for you and be like, ‘Hey, go buy it at this gas station.’ You still have to have some luck on your side,” explains James.

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Making money: Lotto Edge has a freemium model. The free option allows users to see data like overall prize payouts, the total amount of unclaimed prizes, and overall game odds. Users can upgrade to a subscription service that runs $4.95 a month for single-state and $9.95 a month for multi-state (they’re in North Carolina and New Jersey right now, with seven more states coming soon). In addition to subscriptions, Lotto Edge makes money from advertising as well.

Subscription benefits: Paying Lotto Edge subscribers get access to all basic game information (above) along with 20 strategies that provide even more specific stats to work through. The information is useful for those who are more committed to their lottery gameplay. For example, you’ll see how long it’s been since a prize was claimed, games to avoid (either because there are no grand prizes remaining or because a prize was recently claimed) and a diagram with an illustration of odds trends.

James himself has had some luck using his newfound lottery ticket knowledge, describing a lucky streak where he won three or four times in a row. He notes that his own personal strategy involves shying away from the top prizes due to their longshot odds, instead favoring more midrange prizes.

“If you buy even just one scratch-off, we will improve your odds of winning.”

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