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The Debate: The more you play the Lottery the more likely you are to lose

Buying more lottery tickets is a sure-fire way of losing more money, and philosophically speaking, it doesn’t even increase your chances of winning. Think of it this way. If you have two tickets in your hand, which one is more likely to win? Neither, right? They both stand the same chance. And just because you […]

Buying more lottery tickets is a sure-fire way of losing more money, and philosophically speaking, it doesn’t even increase your chances of winning.

Think of it this way. If you have two tickets in your hand, which one is more likely to win? Neither, right? They both stand the same chance. And just because you have two tickets in your hand it doesn’t increase the likelihood that one of them will win, it just means you paid out (or lost) twice as much.

Yet conventional wisdom dictates that whenever a jackpot swells above a certain life-changing amount we should increase the number of tickets we buy in order to be in with a better chance of winning. Office whip-arounds are set up, syndications are born, and we all take turns to sneak out of the office and buy five times as many tickets as we would do on any other occasion.

And with jackpots becoming increasingly monstrous the instances of this happening appear to be going up. According to one news report high-earners in Canary Wharf have taken to bulk-buying lottery tickets whenever the jackpot gets above £70m to £80m in the EuroMillions, with local shops forced to take on extra staff to cover the surge in demand. Peter Wagg, owner of the News of the Wharf store, told the Financial Times that one City worker bought £15,000 worth of “lucky dips” tickets on one occasion and paid in bundles of £50 notes. No news of a jackpot winner was reported in the area after the draw.

Surprising, you may think, yet had the same man stood outside the shop and flipped a coin 15,000 times would you expect the fact that he is tossing it so many times to alter the result? Of course not, but that is the very reason people crowd around roulette tables at a weekend convincing themselves that after landing on black five times the ball must surely now land on red. It might, it might not. It has a 50/50 chance. And that doesn’t alter whether it is the first spin or the 5,000 th .

As anyone who has ever set foot into a philosophy class will know, the probability of something occurring does not increase as you use it. The mathematicians will no doubt scoff, but there is reason to believe that. My brother put it to me recently that he doesn’t know anyone who has won the lottery, nor does he know anyone who knows anyone, but he still chips in for his work’s syndicate, which flies in the face of his realisation that more does not necessarily equal more likely. So why do we do it?

Well, there are some grounds to believe that your odds of winning go up the more tickets you buy, but you should be careful which theory to believe. For example, the notion that if you buy one ticket you have a 1 in 45,057,474 chance of winning and if you buy two tickets you have a 2 in 45,057,474 chance of winning is just crude mathematics, because if two variables are independent you can’t sum the probability. Math that can be used to determine your odds of winning a raffle (where all prizes must go) can not be used to determine your odds of winning the lottery (where there does not have to be a winner).

The London Economic | The Debate: The more you play the Lottery the more likely you are to lose | Opinion

Does Buying Multiple Lottery Tickets Increase Your Odds of Winning?

Thanks to the massive prizes available and delays between buying tickets and the actual draw for a winner, the lottery is ideal for players who like to fantasize. What would you do if you won? How would your life change?

But the chances of winning are absurdly small. You have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery. So, is buying another ticket like standing on a golf course during a thunderstorm? Will you boost your odds by buying more tickets, or are there better ways to improve your odds?

The math behind multiple lotto tickets

In theory, buying more tickets will give you more chances to win. In smaller lottery set ups, for example, a random ticket drawing at your local school or community center, there is a set number of tickets available and buying more of them boosts your chances.

So, if there are 100 raffle tickets and you buy 5 of them, you have a 5% chance of winning compared to a 1% chance of winning with a single ticket.

However, when it comes to lotteries, the math gets a bit more complicated. That’s because there aren’t set tickets sold, but rather a series of numbers that are drawn. Any number of people could pick the same series of numbers that you have, splitting the prize with you.

More than that, the odds of getting the full set of correct numbers are incredibly small. As in, even statisticians say that the number is so vast that it’s hard to visualize for most people.

They try to explain it this way. Imagine sitting in a packed stadium, with a prize given to someone in a seat at random. You can look around the stadium and imagine your odds. Now imagine another stadium, and another, and another few thousand. Even if you had a seat in multiple stadiums, your odds are fairly small.

If you’re playing the Powerball lottery, you need to match 5 numbers, plus the Powerball to win the grand prize. Those are odds of 1 in 292,201,338 according to the Powerball website. Buying 2 tickets gives you odds of 2 in 292,201,338. Even if you buy 100 tickets, your odds are still better for getting killed by a vending machine or getting dealt an opening hand of a Royal Flush in a poker game.

Tips to help you win the lottery

Okay, so buying as many lottery tickets as you can afford isn’t going to give you a better chance of winning the lottery. What does? Here are some top tips from players who have enjoyed multiple lottery wins:

    Play the whole board.

When you’re picking numbers, many people prefer to use birth dates and anniversaries, hoping that special days will be lucky in the lottery. But this means you’ll only play numbers 1-31, leaving the rest of the board empty. By spreading your numbers, you have a better chance of being the only winner, or splitting it with fewer people. Be consistent.

You’ve got to be in it to win it, so if you really dream of winning the lottery, be consistent about buying your ticket. Stick to a budget.

Sure, winning millions can be tempting, but don’t get carried away buying hope at the expense of being able to afford your rent or food. No matter how many friends are buying tickets or how hyped up things get on the news, your chances remain the same, so don’t get caught up in the lottery fever. Try multiple lotteries.

If you want to buy more than one ticket to keep your hopes alive, why not try playing a couple different lotto games? Play the Powerball and Mega Millions, or pick up tickets to smaller lottery games while waiting for the massive payout on the lowest odds games.

This winner bought ONE ticket

Wondering if those tips really work? Well, they did for Lerynne West.

She won half of a $687.8 million Powerball jackpot, getting a split of $343.9 million. She opted for the lump sum payment of $198.1 million, which is generally seen as the best option for any winner who doesn’t have a spending problem.

Before winning the jackpot, she played twice a week when she could afford it. The most she ever won was $150. She didn’t have a strategy or even pick her own numbers, figuring “If I was meant to win it, I was meant to win it”.

So, if you’re a fan of the lottery, why not buy a ticket? It could be your lucky day…

Will you boost your odds by buying more tickets, or are there better ways to improve your odds? The experts at Casino.org share their top tips. ]]>