Playing the lottery is an incredibly popular pastime, with most countries in the world offering multiple national and regional games. However, any time there’s a big prize—like the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs in January 2021—all we hear about is how impossible the odds of winning are.
But someone has to win that money, right? So how much do the odds really matter when you’re buying a ticket? – In this article, we’ll examine the reality of lottery odds and how you can play the lottery smarter.
Is Winning The Lottery Impossible?
Obviously, winning the lottery is possible, as hundreds of players across the globe win big every year. In fact, some people are so lucky that they even win the lottery multiple times! Of course, that doesn’t mean winning is easy. The lottery is still a game of chance, so anything can happen.
But some common phrases you hear about the lottery may be more myth than fact. For example, take the common refrain that people are more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery.
That phrase isn’t nearly as straightforward as you might think. Though the odds of winning a jackpot from a mega lottery like Powerball or Mega Millions might sound insurmountable, those aren’t the only prizes up for grabs.
For example, between 2013 to 2015 over 1,300 tickets won a prize of at least $1 million from those two big lottery organizations. In that same time period, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported there were only 67 fatalities in the U.S. from lightning strikes.
On top of that, there are ways of improving your odds of winning the lottery, even for games with the toughest odds.
How To Improve Lottery Odds
Despite what you might hear online, the only tried and true way of improving your odds of winning the lottery is to buy more tickets.
The official jackpot odds released by lottery organizations represent your odds of winning with a single line, or standard ticket. With each ticket you buy, the odds get better. For example, if you buy two tickets, you are already improving your odds by half.
However, buying more tickets can get pricey fast. That’s where lottery syndicates come in. A lottery syndicate is a group of people—whether friends, family, co-workers, or strangers—who buy a large amount of tickets and split the cost. Members then split all the winnings the tickets bring in.
There have been many examples of lottery syndicates winning big—including the aforementioned $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot. It was won by a small, four-person syndicate from Michigan.
Another way to get more bang for your lotto buck is to make sure you’re playing the right games. Every lottery has their own unique odds and jackpot minimums.
So whether you’re buying tickets for a local lottery, or an international lottery through a site like LottoAnalyst, it is to your benefit to look up both of these things.
Lotteries With The Toughest Odds
Games with the biggest jackpots are tempting for their flashy prizes and promise of riches. However, these mega lotteries also usually have the toughest odds of winning.
Here are the games with the toughest odds in the world—along with their biggest jackpots.
- SuperEnalotto – Odds: 1:622,614,630 | Jackpot: €209.1 million
- Mega Millions – Odds: 1:302,575,350 | Jackpot: $1.537 billion
- US Powerball – Odds: 1:292,201,338 | Jackpot: $1.586 billion
- EuroMillions – Odds: 1:139,838,160 | Jackpot: €210 million
- Spain La Primitiva – Odds: 1:139,838,160 | Jackpot: €101.7 million
Lotteries With The Best Odds
There are certainly lottery games from around the world that have much more attainable odds. However, these games also have much lower starting jackpots.
Here are the games with the best odds of winning the lottery—along with the best data we could find of their biggest jackpots.
- Mexico Chispazo – Odds: 1:98,280 | Jackpot: MX$349,227
- Japan Mini Loto – Odds: 1:169,911 | Jackpot: >¥40 million
- Texas Cash Five – Odds: 1:324,632 | Jackpot: $25,000
- South Africa Daily Lotto – Odds: 1:376,992 | Jackpot: R550,000
- Kazakhstan 5/36 – Odds: 1:376,992 | Jackpot: ₸28 million
Though lottery odds might seem intimidating, they are not as insurmountable as they might seem at first glance. Understanding lottery odds is one of the best ways to become a more strategic lottery player.
However, it is important to remember that the lottery is still a game of chance, so there are no guarantees. For many players, that is all part of the fun!
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