Ready to beat the odds? Here's where many buy their Texas Lottery tickets

These are some of the scratch off tickets sold at Chuck’s Grocery in Arlington.
These are some of the scratch off tickets sold at Chuck’s Grocery in Arlington. atinsley@star-telegram.com

Maybe it’s just a superstition.

But when Ivan Mino wants to buy a lottery ticket, he heads to Chuck’s Grocery in Arlington.

And he wins.

“I’ve never lost here,” said Mino, a retired professor from Mansfield. “I have won more than I have spent.”

Maybe that’s why Chuck’s Grocery sells more lottery tickets than any other store in Tarrant County.

Last year, more than $20 million lottery tickets — scratch offs and drawings alike — were sold at the top 20 lottery ticket selling stores in Tarrant County.

Chuck’s topped the list, as it does every year, selling $2 million of those tickets. The Arlington store easily outpaced the other 19 stores on the list.

The next biggest seller of lottery tickets was Wichita Fuel in Fort Worth, which sold $1.3 million of tickets in 2017.

Crowley Shell in Crowley was next, with $1.28 million in lottery sales, followed by Snappy Food N Gas Mart in Arlington, $1.27 million, and the Diamond Convenience Store in Keller that sold $1.19 million, according to Texas Lottery records.

“It is a lucky place,” Nick Rimal, a cashier at Chuck’s, said of the central Arlington convenience store where he works. “Winning, that’s what keeps them coming back.

“We are the New England Patriots of the Texas Lottery.”

Tarrant County as a whole has been a lucky place to buy lottery tickets recently, producing three millionaires over the course of a month because they bought winning scratch off tickets.

Lucky Chuck's?

Chuck’s, at Secretary Street and Matlock Road, recently offered a large variety of scratch off tickets for players — 68 tickets, to be exact.

Workers there say they try to keep tickets with large unclaimed prizes constantly on hand.

And when people do win, their pictures go on a wall of winners toward the back of the store in a side room dedicated mostly to lottery sales.

“Winners are consistent through the years,” Rimal said. “This place is lucky when it comes to the lottery.”

A woman playing there recently, who declined to give her name, wasn’t so sure if it was the store itself that was lucky.

As she scratched off tickets, and traded in winners to buy more tickets, she said $1,000 was the biggest prize she had won at Chuck’s.

But she said she has heard from many people that Chuck’s is lucky.

“If luck follows you, it will go wherever you go,” she said.

Biggest sellers

Other stores on the list of 20 top lottery retailers in Tarrant County last year: Sublett Shell in Arlington, $1.16 million; Nick’s Corner Mart #2 in Arlington, $1.07 million; Classic Minute Market in Arlington, $983,030; JJ’s Fastop #283 in Fort Worth, $943,549; and the Jubilee Mart in Mansfield, $902,196.

Following those stores were JJ’s Fastop #294 in Watauga, $866,913; Pop and Tea Pitstop in Forest Hill, $826,493; Big Z in Watauga, $824,612; Lone Star Conoco in Bedford, $798,170 and Albertsons #4223 on Clifford Street in Fort Worth, $794,003.

And rounding out the top 20: R M Foods in Arlington, $773,018; 7 AM Market in Fort Worth, $766,407; Candleridge Market in Fort Worth, $766,102; Central Deli in Bedford, $765,511; and Super Track 2 in Grand Prairie, $763,240.

The math shows that the stores with the biggest sales should have more winners, said Doyle Andrews, instructor for gaming management at the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming.

"If one location sells 10,000 tickets, and another sells 1,000 tickets, the first location's chances of selling the winning ticket is 10 times that of the second location," Andrews said. "Very simple."

More than $15 million of scratch off tickets were sold at the top 20 lottery retailers in Tarrant County last year, topped by Chuck’s Grocery, Crowley Shell, Snappy Food N Gas Mart, Wichita Fuel and the Diamond Convenience Store on Keller Parkway in Keller.

And around $5 million lottery drawing tickets were sold at the top 20 lottery retailers in Tarrant County. The top five locations: Chuck’s Grocery, Wichita Fuel, Kold Spot in Mansfield, Quicktrip 866 in Westworth Village; and Snappy Food N Gas Mart in Arlington.

What is luck?

Some people aren’t convinced that the stores selling lottery tickets are lucky or unlucky.

"There shouldn't be any 'lucky' places," said Phillip B. Stark, a statistics professor and associate dean at the University of California.

If there were, he said, it would mean that tickets weren't "shuffled well" before being sent out to stores across the state.

“The ‘luck’ for scratchers has to do with how many tickets with each prize are printed and distributed, and whether they are distributed randomly,” he said. “A win at a particular location does not make additional wins any more or less likely across locations.

“It does mean that there's one less prize left to claim, but that decreases the odds of winning everywhere in the same way."

Local winners

Several people have become millionaires recently after buying scratch-off tickets in Tarrant County.

On April 10, it was announced that a Fort Worth resident won $3 million from the $750 Million Winner's Circle scratch-off game sold at QuickTrip at 3201 Golden Triangle Blvd. in Fort Worth.

The day before, lottery officials said a Haltom City resident won the $5 Set for Life scratch-off game, claiming the cash value that left him or her with $1,999,446.80. That ticket was sold at the 4 Star Quick Pantry, 1325 Beach St. in Fort Worth.

And in mid-March, a Fort Worth resident claimed a $1 million jackpot from the $1,000,000 Big Money scratch-off.

All the winners chose to remain anonymous, which is allowed under a new state law that went into effect last year that allows Texans who claim lottery prizes worth $1 million or more to prevent any personal information from being released to the public.

Mino said he knows one thing for sure.

When some lottery players are winning, others want to roll the dice as well.

“If you know someone has won locally, it makes you want to buy tickets too,” Mino said.

And as for Chuck’s Grocery, there’s one thing he said he knows.

“This place is lucky.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

It's not that you're not lucky, just that you haven't been lucky... yet. Take a trip down memory lane and watch the Texas Lottery's very first drawing on November 14, 1992.