How to Increase Your Odds of Winning the Lottery


In the United States, lottery players spend billions of dollars every week. Some of them play for fun and others believe that the game is their ticket to a better life. But the odds of winning are extremely low. There are, however, ways to increase your odds of winning. Jared James, a former PriceWaterhouseCoopers CPA and Mergers & Acquisition Specialist, has come up with a strategy for choosing the best lottery tickets.

The first step is to know the odds of winning. Most state lotteries offer several prizes, including a grand prize and smaller prizes. The odds of winning a grand prize depend on the number of tickets sold and the total amount spent on them. A single ticket costs between $1 and $10. The odds of winning the jackpot are around one in thirty million.

During the seventeenth century, European colonial settlements used lotteries to build town fortifications and provide charity for the poor. By the fourteen-hundreds, the practice had spread to England and then to America, despite Protestant proscriptions against gambling. By the sixteen-hundreds, lottery profits were used to finance wars and public works projects. George Washington ran a lottery to fund the construction of the Mountain Road in Virginia, and Benjamin Franklin supported lotteries as a way to pay for cannons during the Revolutionary War. John Hancock, too, was a lottery advocate.

Lottery became commonplace in the American colonies, largely because it was one of the few ways to raise money for public projects without increasing taxes. Moreover, lottery revenues were nonpartisan and could be used to pay for public services that might not have otherwise been funded, such as education or veterans’ care. In the late twentieth century, as tax revolts accelerated across the country, states searched for new sources of revenue that would not provoke an antitax electorate.

By the early seventies, thirteen states had established lotteries. Twelve of these, along with the District of Columbia, had large Catholic populations that were generally tolerant of gambling activities. As the lottery grew in popularity, other states sought to emulate it.

The most obvious difference between a modern lottery and its medieval predecessor is the size of the prizes. Today, lottery prizes range from a few hundred thousand dollars to a quarter of a billion dollars. Increasing the prizes, of course, increases ticket sales and publicity. A super-sized jackpot also gives the game a windfall of free publicity on news sites and on television.

Although the wealthy do play the lottery (one of the larger Powerball jackpots was won by three asset managers from Greenwich, Connecticut), they buy fewer tickets than the poor. They also spend a lower percentage of their income on tickets. A typical lottery player making more than fifty thousand dollars per year spends one percent of his or her income on tickets; those making less spend thirteen percent. By contrast, the average household budget devotes nearly six percent of its income to lottery tickets.

Categories: Gambling