While the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) doesn't endorse the Android app, Chris Lange says Scratch This! is built to help players make the best choice on scratch tickets.
Lange, a fourth-year mechatronics engineering student at the university in London, Ont., says his app pulls together public information buried in the OLG website and present it in an easy-to-understand way.
"It pulls the number and value of prizes remaining for each scratch lottery along with the expected number of tickets sold," Lange said. "The algorithm then uses this data and computes a sort of weighted average, and then finally divides by the cost of the ticket.
"So, the best way to describe it would be the higher the ST (Scratch This!) score, the better bang for your buck."
There is a free trial version of the app available in the Android app store, Google Play, and the regular version costs $4.
Lange is quick to point out the app doesn't help you beat the odds in a lottery. There's a disclaimer in the app's description that says it won't increase your odds of winning. If anything, it just helps you make a more "informed" decision, he says.
"The OLG legally provides the data online and updates it daily," Lange said. "Although anyone can access it [online], it would be very time consuming to crunch the numbers, and Scratch This! allows you to quickly pick the scratch card at your price point that gives you the best bang for your buck."
But the OLG is much less enthused about the app, and doubts it can actually help anyone get any "bang for their buck."
"I don't know what that means, given it clearly states it won't increase your odds of winning," said OLG spokesman Don Pister. "We don't endorse any system or method that attempts to increase your odds of winning."
Pister also says the information Lange's app uses can be found on OLG.ca at any time.
"Whether or not an instant ticket is a winner is determined when that ticket is printed," he said. "That doesn't change when it's sitting there in the tray."
But that doesn't deter Lange, who says his app could still help frequent players.
It is only a couple of days old, but if the response is positive, and more apps will likely be on the way, he says.
"If this one takes off, I'll start looking at lotteries in other provinces."