What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery

If you want to have some fun with your coworkers, friends, or family, there’s nothing wrong with drawing some tickets to share. It’s a great bonding experience.

What about the odds of winning the lottery? If you want a shot to improve your chances to win the lottery, you should consider the game you’re playing and go for the one where your likelihood of winning tickets is better. In this article, we’ll go over what your hopes are – the things you can consider them the next time you buy a lottery ticket.

What Are Your Odds at Being the Winner of Mega Millions – Really?

If you’re not good at math and statistics gives you a headache, you might have a hard time visualizing a strategy. We know that card games have a strategy – but is there a strategy to winning the lottery?

What does “having a one in a million chance of winning” actually mean? And what does it mean when you have one in ten thousand chances of winning a smaller prize? Is one type of lottery better than the other?

Calculating chances of winning is tricky. Here is the formula that calculates your prospect of winning the lottery, where n is the number of alternative outcomes and k is the number of choices. The probability of getting all six numbers to match in a game of 49 numbers (without a Powerball) is about 1 in 13,983,816.

Formula for Calculating Odds in a Lottery

Are you still with us? Because we’re getting lost ourselves. The truth is, hitting the lottery jackpot is so hard, that no lottery players will find complicated numbers or formulas useful – and it won’t give them better odds of winning the jackpot. The mathematical truth is, that your probabilities of getting all six winning digits are one to over 13 million.

You definitely better your probabilities by playing different types of lottos with better probabilities. This doesn’t always mean getting your lottery ticket in the United States. To improve your possibilities, try playing European or Canadian lotteries- currently, the Mexico Chispazo has the best probabilities of winning, at 1:98,280. What about comparing the chance at drawing the winning numbers to more unfortunate accidents?

  • The odds of getting eaten by a shark is one in 4 million.
  • The odds of getting hit by lightning twice is around 9 million. (Still better likelihood than getting that lump sum payment!)
  • The odds of getting killed in a car accident are 1 in 103, according to the National Safety Council.

All in all – don’t play the lottery to win. Play the lottery for fun. It’s about the user experience – the waiting, the wondering, the chatting about the yacht you’re going to buy with your lump sum option. Of course, having a chance to choose the lump sum on your ticket can be exciting all in itself for many people. Even though we probably haven’t solved your problem in this article, we hope you’re convinced to get some lottery tickets any way – even if it’s just to have fun with people from work.

US Powerball Lottery Odds

The US Powerball offers great lottery odds. With such huge jackpots, you could be in for a big surprise. Check out the US Powerball lotto odds below.

  • Jackpot: Match Five numbers and the Powerball: 1 in 292,201,338
  • $1 million prize: Match Five numbers: 1 in 11,688,053.52
  • $50,000 prize: Match Four numbers and the Powerball: 1 in 913,129.18
  • $100 prize: Match Four numbers: 1 in 36,525.17
  • $100 prize: Match Three numbers and the Powerball: 1 in 14,494.11
  • $7 prize: Match Three numbers: 1 in 579.76
  • $7 prize: Match Two numbers and the Powerball: 1 in 701.33
  • $4 prize: Match One number and the Powerball: 1 in 91.98
  • $4 prize: Powerball only: 1 in 38.32

Mega Millions Lottery Odds

Mega Millions is one of the TOP lottery draws that also offers very competitive lotto odds. As the US Powerball, Mega Millions offers huge jackpots which gives you great opportunity to win huge prizes. Check out the US Powerball lottery odds below.

  • Jackpot: Match Five numbers and the Gold Mega Ball: 1 in 302,575,350
  • $1 million prize: Match Five numbers: 1 in 12,607,306
  • $10,000 prize: Match Four numbers and the Gold Mega Ball: 1 in 931,001
  • $500 prize: Match Four numbers: 1 in 38,792
  • $200 prize: Match Three numbers and the Gold Mega Ball: 1 in 14,547
  • $10 prize: Match Three numbers: 1 in 606
  • $10 prize: Match Two numbers and the Gold Mega Ball: 1 in 693
  • $4 prize: Match One number and the Gold Mega Ball: 1 in 89
  • $2 prize: Gold Mega Ball only: 1 in 37

Overall chances of winning any prize: 1 in 24

MegaMillions Logo
EuroMillions Logo

Euro Millions Lottery Odds

The Euro Millions offers great lottery odds. With such huge jackpots, you could be surprised to know that you actually have much better odds of winning a EuroMillions than other lotteries. Check out the Euro Millions lotto odds below.

  • Jackpot: Match Five numbers and two Lucky Stars: 1 in 139,838,160
  • Match 5 numbers and 1 Lucky Stars: 1 in 6,991,908
  • Match 5 numbers and 0 Lucky Stars: 1 in 3,107,515
  • Match 4 numbers and 2 Lucky Stars: 1 in 621,503
  • Match 4 numbers and 1 Lucky Stars: 1 in 31,076
  • Match 3 numbers and 2 Lucky Stars: 1 in 14,126
  • Match 4 numbers and 0 Lucky Stars: 1 in 13,812
  • Match 2 numbers and 2 Lucky Stars: 1 in 986
  • Match 3 numbers and 1 Lucky Stars: 1 in 707
  • Match 3 numbers and 0 Lucky Stars: 1 in 314
  • Match 1 numbers and 2 Lucky Stars: 1 in 188
  • Match 2 numbers and 1 Lucky Stars: 1 in 50
  • Match 2 numbers and 0 Lucky Stars: 1 in 22

El Gordo Lottery Odds

The ‘El Gordo’ Spanish Christmas lottery draw is by far the lottery with the biggest jackpot. The lottery odds of winning a prize in the El Gordo Spain Lottery are 1:6.5. Check out a break-down of the lotto odds below:

La Pedrea (Consolation Prize) for El Gordo Lottery = 1:56

  • The main Jackpot online (El Gordo) = 1:100,000
  • 2nd Prize = 1:100,000
  • 3rd Prize = 1:100,000
  • 4th Prize = 1:50,000
  • 5th Prize = 1:12,500
  • Tickets with numbers one below and above the Jackpot = 1:50,000
  • Tickets with numbers one below and above the 2nd prize = 1:50,000
  • Tickets with numbers one below and above the 3rd prize = 1:50,000
  • For all numbers which have identical three digits as the Jackpot = 1:1,010
  • For all numbers which have identical three digits as the 2nd prize = 1:1,010
  • For all numbers which have identical three digits as the 3rd prize = 1:1,010
  • For all numbers which have identical three digits as the 4th prize = 1:505
  • For all numbers which have identical last two digits as the Jackpot = 1:100
  • For all numbers which have identical last two digits as the 2nd prize = 1:100
  • For all numbers which have identical last two digits as the 3rd prize = 1:100
El Gordo Logo

Millionaire Logo

Millionaire Lottery Odds

The lottery odds for the Millionaire are exactly the same as the Euromillions lotto odds.

  • Jackpot: Match Five numbers and Two Lucky Stars: 1 in 139,838,160
  • ~€443,000 Prize: Match Five numbers and One Lucky Star: 1 in 6,991,908
  • ~€71,000 prize: Match Five numbers: 1 in 3,107,515
  • ~€4,000 prize: Match Four numbers and Two Lucky Stars: 1 in 621,503
  • ~€190 prize: Match Four numbers and One Lucky Star: 1 in 31,075
  • ~€83 prize: Match Four numbers: 1 in 13,811
  • ~€79 prize: Match Three numbers and Two Lucky Stars: 1 in 14,125
  • ~€14 prize: Match Three numbers and One Lucky Stars: 1 in 706
  • ~€11 prize: Match Three numbers: 1 in 314
  • ~€19 prize: Match Two numbers and Two Lucky Stars: 1 in 985
  • ~€7 prize: Match Two numbers and One Lucky Star: 1 in 49
  • ~€4 prize: Match Two numbers: 1 in 22
  • ~€10 prize: Match One number and Two Lucky Stars: 1 in 188
  • Overall odds of winning any prize: 1 in 13

* Please note that the above prizes are based on an average from draws played between 10th May 2011 and 17th September 2020.

What You Need to Know about The Odds of Winning the Lottery

Although it is important to learn about the chance of each lottery you want to play, it is also important to learn how to contextualize these odds, learn how to maximize your chance of winning, and ensure you are on top of your game. This is why we created this section where we go over some of the most common tips people usually need to understand to contextualize the raw odd numbers.

#1 You Can Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery Substantially by Playing the Right Game

When looking over the list of lotteries, you might think to yourself that the chance to win the lottery is not substantially different from one lottery to another, and therefore, it doesn’t matter if you choose one or the other. But this is the wrong outlook that misses a few key points.

  • You’re not buying a single ticket, are you? The small differences that are present when buying a single ticket will exponentially increase as you buy more tickets. This what basic math about probability tells us.
  • And you’re not only trying to win the jackpot, are you? because, most often, the chances of winning the lesser prizes are quite different from one lottery to another. You need to take this into account, because, these are the prizes you’ll win most often, and they’re the ones that are going to determine whether you make or lose money in most cases.

#2 Joining a Syndicate Increases Your Chance of Winning the Lottery

By looking through our charts about the odds of winning at various lottery platforms, one thing should be quite evident: the odds of winning the jackpot is universally astronomically low across the board. This is only natural as lottery providers don’t want to lose money, obviously, and if the chances of winning are high, they’ll go bankrupt in a matter of weeks.

How can you increase your chances then? It is impossible to do it through picking random numbers, using unsubstantiated tricks, etc. One sure way you can increase your chance of winning the lottery however is by buying more tickets. This is obvious to everyone, but we’ve not mentioned the crucial part: you don’t have to buy the lottery tickets entirely on your own.

This is where syndicates come in. Syndicates refer to a group of people who pull their money together and buy tickets ensemble to increase their chances of winning the lottery. You can create the group either informally from your group of friends or you can use the syndicates that the platforms provide. Of course, the two types are quite different.

  • Platform-provided Syndicates: these are syndicates the platform organizes and manages. This means you don’t have to worry about buying the tickets, dividing the winnings, etc. It is all managed by them. You can join by buying ‘shares’ of the syndicate.
    For example, if you invest 1000 dollars in a syndicate, and the total pool of money the syndicate had was 100 thousand, this means that you own 1% share in this syndicate. The money is then used to buy hundreds and even thousands of lottery tickets.
    When you win the lottery along with your syndicate, the prize money is divided up among the participants according to the % of shares you own. If the syndicate hits the jackpot and wins 10 million dollars, you’ll get a 1% in our example, which would be around 100 thousand dollars.
  • Custom-made Syndicates: you have full control over this because you’re creating it on your own. This is usually done between close friends or family members. The pools of money collected are usually smaller, and the lotteries are often local.
    Sadly, it isn’t without its problems. It is hard to get enough people to increase the chance of winning substantially, and it might create a rift between you if you win a large prize because you’ll be directly responsible for dividing up the money amongst yourselves.

#3 See if the Lottery You Play Gives You a Second Chance of Winning

If you’re like many people out there, you want to improve your chances and get better odds to be one of the few lucky lottery winner. There’s actually a way that you can ‘technically’ increase your chance to win the lottery, and this is by looking for lotteries that give people a second chance of winning.

If you’re new to lottery games, you might be confused by what we mean. But, a common practice in lottery games is to do a second drawing to give lottery ticket holders a second chance at winning a prize. Of course, these prizes are often not as grand as the first draw, but if you win, you might get a substantial sum, nevertheless. This means you’re effectively doubling your odds for some prizes as you’ll have two shots at winning.

If you want to be one of the lottery winners, you need to keep this in mind when deciding which lottery is best to play. If two lottery platforms give you the exact same chances of winning, you should always go with the one that offers more second chance draws.

#4 Think About Access to the Lottery in Your Country

Although the odds of winning doesn’t change from one country to the next, other things change that impacts the calculations and subsequently your choices, and the examples here are countless.

Some countries have different gambling rules for state-owned lotteries and private lotteries, the latter being heavily taxed and regulated. This means the jackpot prize you see on websites and ads might not reflect the amount of money you’ll actually pocket when you become the winner.

In the United States, for example, you need to pay 24% on the income you get from lottery earnings. This means that around a quarter of all your winnings will go to taxes — this is a substantial amount that no one should scoff at.

So, if you’re planning to win the lottery and are doing research about what kind of lottery ticket to buy, you need to pay extra attention to your local, state, and federal laws, the applicable laws, regulations, and taxes. Because, this could mean a local state lottery might actually make more sense than an attractive international one, after you take into account all the taxes, fees, etc.

This is a common mistake many beginners to lottery games make, sadly. They see some larger jackpot number, attractive odds, and they’re immediately sold without doing further research. Thankfully, after reading this, you won’t be among them.

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