Things You Should Know Before Playing the Lottery


Many people play the lottery, contributing billions to state coffers annually. Some play just for the money while others believe that winning the lottery will bring them good luck and help them get out of a financial rut. However, the truth is that it’s very unlikely you will win and your chances of winning are even worse if you play a lot more frequently or place higher bets. Regardless of your motivation, here are some things you should know before playing the lottery.

It’s important to understand that a lottery prize pool is not actually sitting in a vault, waiting for someone to win it. Instead, lottery jackpots are based on what you would get if the current prize pool were invested in an annuity for three decades. During that time, you’d get the first payment, then 29 annual payments that increase in size each year by a certain percentage. Upon your death, the rest of the prize money would go to your heirs.

To find out what your odds are, you can look up lottery statistics online. Most, but not all, lottery websites publish this information after a lottery drawing. Make sure you’re looking at the most recent data by checking when the website was updated. Also, check to see if the lottery website breaks down prize information by game or scratch-off ticket type. For example, a new scratch-off game might have more prizes than an older one, which has already given out some of its prizes.