There are many people that play the lottery, for all sorts of different reasons. Many people do dream about winning the lottery though and think about what they would do with the money if they did win. It can be a lovely dream, to imagine what you could do if you were rich, perhaps the house you could buy or holidays you could go on, how you could help out friends and family or even charities and things like that. However, is the lottery a good way to get rich?
Consider the Odds
It is wise to start by considering the odds of winning the lottery. We realise that the chances of us winning are low and that we are unlikely to meet someone who has won the jackpot, but do we actually know what the odds are? This will depend on the specific lottery that you are playing of course. It is likely that it is the Lotto (or National Lottery) that you may have in mind. This has a 1 in 9.3 chance of winning a prize which can sound good. However, this does mean that if you but one ticket a week you will win once ever 5.6 weeks. This sounds good until you realise that the lowest prize is just a free lottery ticket – so you will just essentially get your money back. The odds of winning a £10 prize is 1 in 97 which means that you have to play for almost two years (if you buy one ticket a week) to win this prize. If it is the jackpot that you want to win you have a 1 In 45,057,474 chance of winning. This means that you would have to buy one ticket a week for 866,489 years to have a chance of winning or over 50 years you would need to buy 2469 tickets in a day. It is quite staggering to think that would be a spend of over ninety million pounds!
Are there Alternatives?
There are definitely alternatives and it is worth considering all of them:
- Joining a syndicate so you increase your chances of winning could be a good idea. If you club in with twenty other people you will have a greater chance of winning a prize. However, as you can see from the above, the chances are still pretty low and you are not really going to have much more of a chance of winning the jackpot.
- It could be worth considering an alternative lottery. There are other lotteries and these may have better odds. However, those with better odds of winning tend to have smaller prizes, so you will need to decide whether you are happy with this or whether it is the big jackpot prize that you are interested in.
- There are free lotteries that you can play online. The prizes on these are very small because they are funded by advertising but they are free to play. This can give you an opportunity to still have some fun with playing the lottery without paying out any money.
- You could buy some premium bonds instead of buying lottery tickets. This is rather different but is still gambling. You buy a bond for £1 and then each bond is entered monthly in a draw and there are prizes of various values. There is a minimum purchase amount of £25 though and the jackpot is £1 million which is less than you would win if you won the jackpot on the lotto. However, the odds are better in some ways. The odds of winning a prize on a 31 bond is 24,500 to 1 which is a much lower chance than winning a lottery prize. However, the lowest value prize is £25 for the Premium Bonds whereas for the lottery it is just a free ticket. However, a big difference with the premium bonds is that you will always hold the bonds (until you sell them) so you will be entered in the draw every month and you can get your money back when you want to. Therefore, you cannot lose any money this way.