The lottery is a longshot, but it’s also possible to win a life-changing jackpot. There’s not much you can do to actually increase your chances of winning, but here are a few tips for how to win the lottery—meaning what to do if you do win, just as much as trying to win.
- Understand just how long the odds really are
The average state lottery offers odds of 100,000,000 to 1. The Powerball, which is a multi-state lottery, has odds of 185,000,000 to 1. So don’t get your hopes up. Those are long odds.
- Stay away from the scratch and win tickets
I think buying a single lottery ticket each week is probably okay. You might get a dollar’s worth of entertainment from thinking about how you’ll spend your millions. But scratch and win tickets will just bleed you dry and fast. The payback percentage on such games is about 50%.
- Avoid picking lottery numbers that other people commonly pick
If you’re using common birthdays, you’re increasing your chances of having to split your winnings with someone else when you win.
- Go with the cash option, not the annuity
The annuity is where you get paid a certain amount each year over the next 25 years. The cash option is better, even though you don’t get as much money. You can invest it and earn more in interest than your annuity would be worth.
- Think about trying some progressive jackpot slot machines instead
The odds of winning the Megabucks slots games in Las Vegas are twice as good as the lottery, but you do have to visit Las Vegas in order to play.
- Don’t buy multiple tickets if you do play
I touched on this earlier. A weekly ticket is a nice indulgence, but multiple tickets don’t really improve your odds much.
- Don’t spend money you don’t have on lottery tickets
Lottery players are the worst at wasting money they need for something else on gambling. Save the rent money for the rent.
- Form a lottery pool
A fun way to win the lottery is to form a team and play together. You’ll have a shot at winning, and you’ll enjoy some camaraderie while you’re at it.