Odds of Winning The Lottery

I have to admit that since I found out that you can take part in the National Lottery online a few months ago, I’ve been playing every week. It’s far more convenient than having to remember to get a ticket, and I was lucky enough to win twice in a row a couple of weeks back (although only £10 each time).

Many play the lottery in the hope of one day scooping the jacket and instantly becoming a millionaire, others play as they say it is an exciting way to donate money to good causes (although deep down they’re probably yearning for a big win too).

However, the Motley Fool has published Why The Lottery Is Strictly For Mugs, which goes in to the maths of actually winning the damn thing (likelihood: low), where your money actually goes to (hint: the government sees a fair bit) and whether you should in fact put your money elsewhere (verdict: you should).

Here are the probabilities of winning a prize:

Win % of pot Odds
Jackpot (all 6 balls) 52% 1 in 13,983,816
5 plus bonus ball 16% 1 in 2,330,636
5 balls 10% 1 in 55,492
4 balls 22% 1 in 1,033
3 balls £10 each 1 in 57
Winning any prize 1 in 54

There’s been much said about the lottery being a tax on the poor, and I would have to agree to a certain extent. But let’s face it, there’s always that nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, one day you will be the lucky one. After all, somebody has got to win it…

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