Playing the lottery is probably the most popular form of betting in the world today. In the UK alone it is Lotteries are played in many countries and states throughout the world with many governments using them to raise funds.
It is stated in the bible that Moses used a lottery to award land west of the River Jordan. There are references to lotteries in Roman times and during the Han dynasty in China. The first English lottery is reported to have taken place in 1569 and lotteries were a great source of fund raising for the top universities in America after independence. Due to various issues over corruption and morality lotteries disappeared until the first modern lottery drawn in New Hampshire in 1964. Since then lotteries have appeared all over the world.
The appeal of the lottery is the size of the jackpot prize available to winners with potentially huge life changing amounts of money on offer. The huge prizes are offset by the chance of winning. Most of the lotteries round the world follow roughly the same format but we will use the UK lottery in this example.
To take part in a draw you pay £1 and select six different numbers from 1 to 49. (This is known as a 6/49 game). A machine selects six different numbers from 1 to 49. You win a prize (£10) if you match three of your numbers with the numbers drawn. The more numbers you match the larger the prize and if you match all six you win the jackpot, or at least a share of it.
The size of the jackpot depends on the amount of money in the prize fund and the number of winners. For each £1 spent on the tickets 50p goes into the prize fund, the remainder goes to the government in tax, to good causes and to the lottery operator. Jackpots can be up to several million pounds but if there is more than one ticket that matches all six numbers then the jackpot is split equally between the winning tickets. If there is no jackpot winner then the money is carried forward to the next draw which can lead to huge payouts if it is not won for several draws. Some lotteries allow only one combination of six numbers to be sold meaning that only one ticket can win the jackpot.
There is a seventh ball drawn in the UK lottery but this is only of interest if you have matched five of the six main numbers. This can offer large prizes if you match five numbers and the bonus ball.
Smaller prizes are offered for five numbers (without the bonus ball), four numbers and three numbers (£10).
The odds of winning
The chances of winning a lottery jackpot are determined by several factors, including: the count of possible numbers, the count of winning numbers drawn, whether or not order is significant and whether drawn numbers are returned for the possibility of further drawing. In the UK lottery there are 49 numbers, 6 main numbers and a bonus number drawn, the order does not matter and drawn numbers are not redrawn. Therefore, the odds on winning the UK lottery are,
|6 Numbers (Jackpot)||
1 in 13,983,816
|5 Numbers and the Bonus Ball||
1 in 2,330,636
1 in 55,492
1 in 1,033
|3 Numbers (£10)||
1 in 57
Increasing your chances of winning
The lottery is a random draw with the operators doing everything possible to ensure that this is the case. So the question is, how do you increase your chances of winning ? Well there is only one answer and it is the obvious one ! Buy more tickets !
However, with the cost of tickets being £1 and the chances of winning 1 in 57 you would have spend £57 just to give yourself a decent chance of winning £10. Not a good return on investment.
What a lot of people do is get together with friends or work colleagues and set up a syndicate. This is where people join together and share the costs, numbers and any winnings. There are now websites where you can join online syndicates and take part in lotteries from all over the world.
There are many lotteries all over the world including the Spanish Lottery Superdraw, El Gordo, which has some of the richest prize pools in the world ranging from €84 Million all the way up to a staggering €2.6 Billion. Most lotteries require that you live in the country or state where the draw is made but now you are able to play over the internet. See some of the lotteries available to play online.
Alternatively, a lot of bookmakers allow you to bet on lotteries, they offer odds on numbers rather than you buying a ticket. See some of the lotteries available to bet on at bookmakers.
|World wide lotteries|
|Betting on lotteries at bookmakers|