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Comparing lotto odds

This question is most asked by all online lotto players. Understanding the question is the first task in understanding the answer. What is it that you really want to know?

  • Which Lottery has the best odds of winning the jackpot?
  • Which Lottery has the best odds of winning a prize?

The answer to question number one is very cut and dry and in this article, I will provide you with the answer. Mathematical odds are determined using a theory that takes into consideration: the number of primary balls used, the number of bonus balls used, and the number of machines used in the draw. The odds are then calculated based on the total number of possible winning combinations.


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To put this in a simple concept let’s look at the coin flip for example. If you are to take a normal everyday US penny it has two sides. We have come to know these sides as heads or tails. You see an example of this lottery at work every time two football teams meet. The odds are clearly 1 in 2 that the result will be heads. No matter how many times you make this flip the odds remain the same. If you were able to pick both heads and tails your odds would become 1 in 1 and we like those odds.

Using just this information we can get hard numbers for each International lottery and in doing so I have learned it is the UK Thunderball lottery that has the best odds of winning the jackpot. If we look a bit closer at this situation we will learn the following facts:

  • The weekly jackpot prize for the UK Thunderball lottery is £ 500,000 which was the equivalent of just over $ 800,000 USD at the time of writing this article.
  • The implied odds based on mathematics are 1 in 8,060,598 for the jackpot prize.
  • At the time of writing another International Lottery, the Irish Lottery had a jackpot of £ 3,500,000 or approximately $ 5,662,650 USD
  • The posted odds of winning the jackpot for the Irish Lottery are 8,145,060.

Now let’s do the first calculation:

For each possible winning combination in the UK Thunderball Lottery, the value is approximately 10 cents. This is determined by taking the jackpot amount and dividing it by the odds. The same calculation for the Irish Lottery will give you a result of approximately 70 cents. At the end of the day, the odds are 7 times greater that you will cash in big on the Irish lottery.

Next, we can take into consideration the price of a ticket and complete a second calculation:

To play each possible winning combination of the Irish Lottery it would take 8,145,060 tickets, each ticket will cost $ 7.83 USD. For only $ 63,775,819.80 USD you can guarantee yourself $ 5,662,650 USD. To summarize the cost to buy $ 1 in this International Lottery is $11.26, a bargain compared to the UK Thunderball Lottery. Doing the same calculations you will find the same $1 will cost you $54.30.

These numbers show you there are many factors to consider when deciding which lottery is best for you. At the end of the day, it is all a gamble and my head always says go big. Keep track of the biggest jackpots available and play on a regular basis. This will improve your odds of winning.