Many countries run a lottery scheme. It can be a 'good' way of disposing of unwanted cash, since although the chances of getting a significant return are tiny, the pleasure comes in the expectation of the huge rewards that, sadly, never materialise. Most people who play the lottery choose to dispose of a small amount of cash each week. There is a way, however, to improve your chances of winning from tiny to almost-but-not-quite-so-tiny.
Note: Make no mistake: this method will almost certainly dispose of a vast amount of your hard-earned cash in one fell swoop.
This method really only works for those who are already playing the lottery on a regular basis. Let's say you buy one ticket every week in the UK National Lottery. Every week the chances of winning the Jackpot are 14 million-to-1; hence every week you lose a pound1. Well, almost every week; occasionally you'll pick up one of the minor prizes. Now if you were to buy two lines (with different numbers), your chances of winning would be 7 million-to-1. Obvious. So the more lines you buy, the greater your chance of winning. Again obvious. If you bought 14 million lines you'd be certain to win, although you would have spent millions more than your eventual prize.
So is there a way to increase the odds of winning without spending more money? Well yes, actually. The idea is to calculate how much you would spend on the lottery in your lifetime. Put the whole lot on in one week and, win or lose, never, but never play the lottery again.
Let's use the example of a pound a week, say 50 pounds a year (keeps the maths simple). You are going to play the lottery from age 20 to age 70, 50 years. That's £50x50 = £2500 spent on the lottery in a lifetime. If you spend the whole lot in one go, the odds of winning go from 14 million-to-1 up to 5,600-to-1. These are much better odds, although, and it can't be emphasised enough, you will still probably lose.
Of course you have got to have, and be able to afford to lose, the two and a half thousand pounds in the first place. You may lose less than that; you have to be pretty unlucky not to pick up a few minor prizes. These will knock a few hundred off the bill, but unless you are lucky enough to get at least a 5 ball, the odds of which are still 21.6-to-1, you will make a net loss around £2000. As already stated, win or lose, you must not play the lottery again, otherwise you've only increased the odds by spending more, which was not the object of the exercise.
Another big advantage, and this is really the point of this method, is that it brings forward the winning date. On the week-by-week method, if you win, it could be at any time during your lifetime; it may be near the end of your life and not much use. On average it will be in the middle, but with the all-at-once method, if you win, you will win it now and have your whole life to enjoy it.
It's a funny old thing, money. If you'd prefer to hang onto yours, your fellow Researchers have some words of wisdom for you.
- Money and the Power of Belief
- Tips for Saving Money
- How Do You Make a Little Money Go a Long Way?
- How to Gamble and Win
- Beating the Odds