We have written before about how the Arkansas Lottery discontinues lineups of scratch-off tickets while millions of dollars in prizes are still outstanding.

The Arkansas Lottery relies heavily on scratch-off tickets and rolls out new sets of instant tickets every month.

However, the Arkansas Lottery also routinely discontinues scratch-off tickets — some of which may still have a million dollars or more in outstanding prize money.

Just last week the Arkansas Lottery quit letting people redeem winning tickets for its $20 Ultimate Millions scratch-off — even though the Lottery’s website indicates there is still a million dollar jackpot ticket out there somewhere along with about $500,000 in other winning tickets.

These winning tickets either were never sold or — if they were sold — have not been redeemed yet.

By discontinuing the game before all the winning scratch-off tickets were sold or redeemed, the Arkansas Lottery avoids paying out more than $1.5 million in prizes.

Last week was the deadline to redeem winning tickets for at least three other scratch-off games at the Arkansas Lottery besides Ultimate Millions: Hot $200’s, $20K Blast, and 200X Payout. Altogether, nearly $1.5 million in prize money remains outstanding from these three games.

In other states, lotteries have drawn flak for discontinuing scratch-off games before selling all or most of the winning tickets.

Some have questioned whether those lotteries simply did not want to pay money for big prizes.

The Arkansas Lottery already spends more money on prizes than most state lotteries. That high prize budget presumably helps entice people to play the lottery.

But many people may be surprised to learn that a state-run lottery can avoid paying prizes to players simply by cancelling lottery games before all the winning tickets are sold.