Lottery, or Lotto as the game is often called, has existed for hundreds of years, and it’s one of the most popular forms of gambling within the UK. The biggest lottery win by a British player to date, as far as we know, happened in the summer of 2022, when one lucky Brit won £195.7 million in the EuroMillions draw! Let’s explore the game of lottery in detail, in this GoodLuckMate in-depth lottery guide.
The History of Lotteries
The humble lottery game can be traced back as far as the ancient Chinese Han Dynasty’s invention of Keno, sometime around the year 200 BC. The Romans were also known to indulge in the game during lavish feasts and particular religious events. There is evidence that the governments of that time used the proceeds of these early forms of state-run lotteries to fund large projects, much in the same way governments use them today.
While the Han Dynasty is rumoured to have used much of its lottery proceeds to fund The Great Wall of China, modern lotteries tend to fund social projects, such as education programs. In fact, most national lotteries are state-owned lotteries, purely made as an income stream for the government.
How to Play Lotto
There really isn’t all that much to learn about playing lotto. Generally speaking, you buy a ticket, pick your numbers, and wait for the results to be called. Once the winning numbers have been drawn, you compare your ticket with the results. The more correct numbers you’ve picked, the higher the payout you’ll get.
How many numbers you can pick, and how many total numbers you have to choose from will differ from game to game. In the UK, the lottery standard used to be 49 but was later changed to 59. Games of lotto played in other countries or regions might have fewer numbers or more numbers, depending on what the organisers choose. How many numbers you get to choose will also vary, but generally, you’re supposed to pick six numbers on your ticket.
Once your ticket is all marked and submitted, all you have to do is wait for the draw. The draw can be done manually using a tombola, often on live TV or live streamed from some game studio, or it can be done digitally using a random number generator (RNG). The frequency of a draw will also depend on the lottery game you're playing. Some happen several times a week, while others happen monthly, or even yearly. If you play a lottery game in a live casino, draws will happen every few minutes throughout the day.
Payouts in Lotto
Lottery rules concerning payouts can vary wildly, depending on the lottery in question. The biggest lotteries can have a top prize that is nothing short of astronomical. The biggest payout from a lottery was as much as 1.586 billion US dollars, a prize won in the US Powerball lottery. A more “normal” lottery win will, unfortunately, be much smaller, but still in the millions.
It’s important to know that lotto and lottery prizes are not an all or nothing type of prize. It’s possible, and even likely, to win a small amount. How much you win will vary based on one single thing: how many numbers you got right out of the total numbers you got to choose from. Basically, it’s like playing the odds. If you ticked off more right numbers than what the theoretical probability says that you should have, then you’ll get a win.
The prize you get can be anything from less than what you paid for the ticket, to a jackpot prize. But the jackpot is a bit of a separate win, which we’ll go more into now.
Lotteries With a Jackpot
Winning the jackpot in a lottery is something all lottery players dream of, but it’s also something very few of us will ever get to experience. To win the jackpot in the national UK lottery, your chances are 1:4,000,000. In other words, not very likely. For bigger lotteries, like the EuroMillions lottery, your chance of winning the jackpot is 1:139,838,160.
But, if you do win, your life is guaranteed to be changed forever. The jackpots found in lotto and lottery games are typically progressive, meaning they keep on growing until someone wins it. And with the odds of guessing the right numbers, the jackpots can grow and grow and grow, reaching sums you’d think are impossible.
Here’s an overview of the biggest lottery jackpot wins in history:
- $1.586 billion, Powerball
- $1.537 billion, Mega Millions
- $1.05 billion, Mega Millions
- $768.4 million, Powerball
What should be noted, though, is that it’s possible for more players than just one to win the jackpot, and if that happens during the same draw, the jackpot prize will be divided among the winners. Then again, with jackpots this size, you and your entire family will be set for life regardless.
The Biggest Lotto and Lottery Games
There are lotteries to be found all over the world, not to mention online. Most are state lotteries where you can only buy a ticket if you live in that country, while others cover regions like states or multiple countries. Before the time of the internet, you were more or less restricted to only play the lottery that was available where you live. Now though, you can participate in lotteries more or less all over the world, via online casinos and other operators offering lottery tickets online.
Here are some of the biggest lotteries in the world:
- El Gordo
- Mega Millions
The EuroMllions and Powerball are two noteworthy examples that have huge top prizes in the many millions of pounds, dollars, or euros. While some lotteries do extend across multiple territories, they are typically region locked to a specific country or region. However, you might be able to buy a ticket through a vendor online.
Lottery Strategies and Other Helpful Tips
You have probably heard a lot of people explaining their lottery strategy. Sometimes people stick with the same selections in every round. Some people have special selections that they will always mix in with other, more random selections. Some just go in with a gut feeling, essentially picking random numbers every time. Another consideration is the number of tickets to buy, as people will often buy several at once.
But what’s mentioned above are patterns individual people tend to stick with, based on nothing other than people’s gut feeling. Lotteries are one of those games where no practical strategies for increasing the winning chances can be applied. Basically, your winning chances are what they are, and it's impossible to change them.
The only thing you can do to in any way increase your chances to win is to play a lottery game that has fewer numbers to choose from. As we mentioned earlier, the national lottery in the UK changed from having 49 numbers to having 59 numbers, drastically decreasing the chances of winning. However, it also made the prizes to be won bigger. In other words, the game became more volatile. So if you want to win, you should play lottery games with as few numbers as possible. That will make you win more frequently, but it might not turn you into a multi-millionaire when you do win.
Play Lotteries at Online Casinos
Most online casinos do not offer lotteries. You might find the game of Keno, a version of lottery, at some casinos, both as a live game and as RNG games. But if you’re thinking of participating in one of the truly big lottery draws of the world, then your choice of casinos will be slim. However, slim does not mean non-existent; you will find an operator who offers lotteries, but it won’t be your everyday run-of-the-mill online casino.
Online operators offering lottery games often specialise in this game type, and only a handful of them operate within the UK market. These ones might also offer some typical casino games, but for the most part, it’s just lotteries. At these ones, you might be able to buy lottery tickets from lotteries and lotto games all over the world, and in that way, you can even participate in one of the huge lotteries in the US, if you’d like.
Live Dealer Lotteries and RNG Games
You can find various virtual or live casino iterations of lotteries and Keno at casinos online, each type catering to different player preferences. Virtual lotteries and Keno use RNG algorithms to instantly generate truly random numbers for each round. Live dealer lottery games instead have a more familiar set up with traditional televised lotteries.
A host is live-streamed from a studio, while players can make their selections using the game’s user interface. This interface also allows you to interact with the host and other participants. Registering with an online casino will allow you to access free lotteries online. While you will still need to wager in order to participate in these lotteries, it is completely free to access the games and either play them in demo mode for virtual games or spectate the live casino tables.