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What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?

To win the lottery, you will need a great deal of luck to beat the unfavorable odds and a little knowledge about the ins and outs of the lottery. Each lottery offers different odds of winning, depending on the available numbers in the pool and the number of numbers to be selected. These odds can be unfavorable, and your chances of winning may be negligible. Even so, many players have successfully beat one-in-a-million odds to become lottery winners.

We recommend that you understand your chances of winning before you purchase lottery tickets to maximize your entry and be realistic with your chances. Here is a quick overview of your odds of winning the grand prize in major lotteries:

  • US Powerball odds – The most popular lotto game in the world offers a 1:292,201,338 chance to win the jackpot.
  • US MegaMillions odds – The guaranteed prize is $40 million, and your odds of winning it are 1:302,575,350.
  • Eurojackpot odds – This continental European lottery gives the chances of winning the jackpot of 1:95,344,200.
  • EuroMillions odds – You need to beat the odds of 1:139,838,160 to win the grand prize in this lottery.
  • Italy SuperEnalotto odds – This national lottery is famous for great jackpots and bad odds of winning it. The chances are 1:622,614,630.
  • Brazil Mega Sena odds – The biggest South American lotto has the odds of winning the jackpot placed at 1:50,063,860.
  • Australian Oz Lotto odds – The Australian Lotto has a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million, and the chances to land the jackpot are 1:45,379,620.

How Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery Calculated

Our experts designed a simple lottery odds calculator. It can help you know the odds of any lottery in the world. All you need to do is to enter the specifics of that game. The calculator will even give you information on your chances based on the number of tickets you buy for the draw.

However, if you are interested in knowing the math behind the lottery, stick with us; this guide explains how to calculate lottery odds with the combinations formula

Calculating the Odds of the Powerball Lottery

Let’s start with the Powerball lottery. The US Powerball requires players to choose five balls between 1 and 69 and a special Powerball between 1 and 26. Both selections are independent of each other, so we can calculate the odds of making the winning selections.

Powerball CNN
Source: CNN

Note: The symbol “!” in the combination formula represents factorial.

Step 1: The first step is calculating how many ways the player can choose five numbers from 1 to 69.

69C5 = = = = 11,238,518

So there are 11,238,518 ways to choose five numbers between 1 and 69, so your odds of correctly predicting the winning white balls is 1 in 11,238,518.

Step 2: The next step is calculating how many ways the player can choose one number between 1 and 26.

26C1 = = = 26

So there are 26 ways to choose the Powerball number, so your odds of correctly predicting the Powerball number is 1 in 26

Step 3: Since they are two separate events, we will use the multiplication rule to find the odds of both events happening simultaneously.

69C5 x 26C1 = 11,238,518 x 26 = 292,201,388

This implies that the probability of winning the Powerball (having the five winning numbers and the Powerball) is 1 in 292,201,388

Calculating the Odds of the Mega Millions Lottery

Mega Millions requires the players to choose five white numbers between 1 and 70 and a Mega ball between 1 and 25. As expected, both selections are separate events, so we will calculate the odds of selecting the white and Mega balls separately.

Mega Millions Lottery
Source: Forbes

Step 1: Calculate the numbers of ways the player can choose five numbers between 1 to 70

70C5 = = = = 12,103,014

So there are 12,103,014 ways to choose five numbers between 1 to 70, so your odds of correctly predicting the winning white balls is 1 in 12,103,014

Step 2: Calculate the number of ways the players can choose the Mega ball from 1 to 25.

25C1 = = = 25

So there are 25 ways to choose the Mega ball number, so your odds of correctly predicting the Powerball number is 1 in 25.

Step 3: Combining both odds to write the overall odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery.

70C5 x 25C1 = 12,103,014 x 25 = 302,575,350

Therefore, the odds of winning the Mega Millions game is 1 in 302,575,350

As stated earlier, the odds of winning a game depend on the lottery pool and the number of balls drawn. Below are the odds of winning some of the most popular games in the world.

Lottery Numbers of balls to the picked and Number Pool Odds of Winning
Powerball 5/69 White balls + 1/26 Powerball 1 in 292,201,338
Mega Millions 5/70 White balls + 1/25 Mega ball 1 in 302,575,350
EuroJackpot 5/50 White balls + 2/10 Euro Numbers 1 in 95,344,200
EuroMillions 5/50 White balls + 2/12 Lucky Star Numbers 1 in 139,838,160
Italy SuperEnalotto 6/90 Numbers 1 in 622,614,630
France Lotto 5/46 White balls + 1/10 Chance Numbers 1 in 19,068,840
Canada 6/49 6/49 Numbers 1 in 13,983,816
Germany Lotto 6/49 White balls + 1/9 Super ball 1 in 139,838,160
Brazil Mega Sena 6/60 Numbers 1 in 50,063,860
UK National Lottery 6/59 + Bonus Ball 1 in 45,057,474

Factors that Affect Your Odds of Winning

Your chances of winning the lottery depend on several factors, some of which include:

  • Type of lottery: Mathematically, we can deduce that the higher the odds, the more difficult it will be to win the lottery. For instance, lotteries like Powerball or Mega Millions, whose odds are as high as 1 in hundreds of millions, are much tougher to win.
  • The number of tickets sold: The number of people participating in the lottery, the lower your chances of taking home the jackpot alone. If more than one person wins the jackpot prize, the organizers will split the lottery evenly between them.
  • Ticket purchasing habits: You have to be in the game to win. A player that plays more regularly will have a higher chance of winning a prize in the lottery than someone who plays once in a while.
  • Timing: Many lotteries have rollover features that keep the jackpot growing until a winner claims it or it reaches the rollover cap. While the odds of winning remain the same regardless of the jackpot size, your chance of claiming the lottery alone may vary depending on how many people predict the winning combination.

Remember that the lottery is primarily a game of luck, and there is no surefire way to guarantee a win. However, understanding the factors that affect your odds of winning can help you make informed decisions on the best ways to play the lottery.

Improving Your Odds of Winning

Perform a quick search through Google, and you will find plenty of websites offering advice on improving your chances of winning the lottery. Some actually work, but others may not have any effects on the odds.

Here are some tips that actually improve your chances of winning.

  • Buy more tickets. The more tickets you buy for a draw, your chances of winning are higher. However, buying more tickets does not significantly improve your chances of winning because the odds are usually very long. You will need to purchase a truckload of tickets to have a decent chance of beating the odds.
  • Time your bets: Most jackpot games have a rollover feature that adds the jackpot to the jackpot of the next draw if nobody wins it. By timing your bets for when the jackpot has amounted to massive amounts, you can enjoy a chance to win more for the same lottery odds.
  • Choose lotteries with a small number pool. While the bigger lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions are enticing, they have a larger number pool. As a result, they are a lot more challenging to win. You have a higher chance of winning when you play a lottery with a lower jackpot and a smaller number pool.
  • Play the numbers that win regularly. A great way to improve your chances is to research the common lottery winning numbers from past lottery results. These numbers may provide insights for choosing your lottery numbers.
  • Employ lottery strategies. You can improve your chances by employing lottery strategies such as Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6, wheeling systems, and lottery prediction software.

On the other hand, you may also find some tips that promise to improve your chances of winning. But in reality, they do not have any effect on the lottery. Here are some of them.

  • Playing in every draw. Participating in every lottery draw does not improve your chances of winning because the draws are independent events. This means that the odds of one draw do not affect the odds of the other. As a result, the odds do not change. If you buy a ticket today for the Canada 6/49 lottery at 1 in 13,983,816, the odds will still remain 1 in 13,983,816 in the next draw. You are better off buying more tickets in a single draw than one ticket with multiple draws. For instance, if you buy ten tickets in a single draw, the odds become 10 in 13,983,816.
  • Playing the same numbers for the lottery. The lottery is random, and there is no way to predict the exact numbers that will come out in the draw. This means that some numbers may show up regularly, never show up at all, or appear once and never appear again. Even if you keep playing the same winning numbers, your odds will remain the same.

The Reality of Winning the Lottery

The jackpot prizes for most lotteries are very attractive, but in reality, they have really long odds, and your chances of winning them are actually very low. To put these into perspective, you have a better chance of falling into one of these categories than winning the lottery.

  1. You have a 1 in 4 chance of living to 100.
  2. You have a 1 in 10,000 chance of finding a four-leaf clover.
  3. You have a 1 in 35,074 chance of dying in a storm.
  4. You have a 1 in a 57,825 chance of dying from a hornet, wasp, or bee sting.
  5. You have a 1 in 200,000 chance of being born as a conjoined twin.
  6. You have a 1 in 500,000 chance of becoming an Olympic athlete.
  7. You have a 1 in 700,000 chance of being hit by a meteorite.
  8. You have a 1 in 1,222,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
  9. You have a 1 in 1,505,000 of being a movie star.
  10. You have a 1 in 11,500,000 of being attacked by a shark.


What are the odds of winning the lottery if you play every day?
The odds of winning the lottery remain the same even if you play every day. Each draw is an independent event, so the odds of winning will always stay the same regardless of whether you play every day or once in a while.

How to calculate lottery odds?
You can calculate the lottery odds using the combination formula with the number pool and the number of balls to be drawn. Our lottery odds calculator can calculate the odds immediately; all you need to do is to choose the lottery, and the odds will display at once.

What are the odds of winning any lottery?
The odds of winning the lottery depend on how many numbers the lottery requires and the number pool. Our lottery odds calculator can provide the odds of winning any lottery instantly.

How do odds change as jackpots grow?
The odds do not change as the jackpot grows. Although you will now face more competition because more people will be enticed to play the lottery, and if there is more than one winner, the jackpot will be split evenly.

Is there a way to improve my odds of winning the lottery?
You can improve your odds of winning the lottery by buying more tickets, employing lottery strategies, timing your bets, and playing lotteries with a smaller number pool and better odds.

What should I do if I win the lottery?
Keep your tickets safe while you decide on how to claim your lottery winnings. We recommend hiring financial experts and lawyers to help you choose between lump payments or annuity payments and what to do with the winnings. For more information, consult our comprehensive guide on what to do if you win the lottery.

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