People talk about winning the lottery as if it were just one game. But every state has a selection of lottery games with different odds of winning. Read the odds before you spend your money to ensure you're maximizing your chances of winning.
Remember that lottery games like Powerball and MegaMillions are national lotteries, so they have a much broader entry pool. State lotteries, where players have to physically be in that state to buy a ticket, usually have better odds. And don't write off scratch-off games, which might have smaller prizes but higher chances of winning overall.
The easiest way to boost your odds of winning lotteries is simply to buy more tickets. But of course, that costs money, and even if you invest a lot of money in tickets, your odds of winning are still poor.
But lottery pools give you the opportunity to improve your odds without spending more money. Consider join your office lottery pool or starting one of your own to get better chances of winning without breaking your budget.
Imagine actually winning a big jackpot... but missing out on your money because you forgot to double-check your numbers. It happens more often than you think. For example, one MegaMillions lottery ticket worth nearly $300,000 went unclaimed. Don't let that happen to you.
When you buy a lottery ticket, keep it somewhere where you can find it again easily. Jot down the drawing date and time in your calendar if you're afraid you might forget it. Check the numbers against your ticket, and double-check them, just to be sure. Also, make sure that you are looking at the numbers for the correct date.
Some people like to have convenience store clerks verify their tickets to be sure they don't make a mistake while checking their numbers. If you decide to do this, make sure you follow the tips below to avoid a scam.
If you miss your lottery announcement, check out this state-by-state listing of winning lottery results.
04Multiply Your Chances of Winning the Lottery with Second-Chance Games
OK, so your numbers didn't come up in the drawing. That means it's time to toss your lottery ticket, right? Wrong!
On June 8, 2010, an About.com Sweepstakes Forum member going by the name KentuckyBell reported a big lottery win. But she didn't win because of the numbers she played when she bought the ticket, but because she entered the second-chance game in the Kentucky Lottery. Her name was randomly drawn as the winner, and she took home $120,610.70 after taxes.
So don't give up just because you didn't win the first time. If your lottery game includes a second-chance drawing, entering could be your ticket to winning.
05Someone Else's Loss Might Be Your Lottery Ticket Win
A lot of people throw out their lottery tickets after a drawing, but that doesn't mean that the tickets are worthless. Perhaps they didn't bother to check the numbers, or they checked the wrong drawing or misread the winning numbers. If you find a discarded lottery ticket, it's worth taking the time to double-check.
Even if the discarded ticket is a loser, there's a chance you could still win with it. If there's a second-chance drawing associated with the lottery game, you can use found tickets to enter, giving you more chances to win.
06Take Steps to Secure Winning Lottery Tickets
If you are lucky enough to win the lottery, the last thing you want to do is let the prize slip through your fingers.
To protect yourself, the very first thing you should do after you receive a lottery ticket, even before you know whether it's a winner or not, is to sign it. Your signature on the back of a lottery ticket can help prove it's yours if it gets lost or stolen.
Also, never hand over a ticket to a clerk at a lottery location and ask if you've won. Use a computer terminal to determine if you're a winner, ask the clerk for the winning numbers and verify them yourself, or check online or in newspapers to find the winning numbers. It's easy for an unscrupulous clerk to pocket your ticket and tell you it was a loser.
If you intend to cash a lottery ticket by mail, make sure you make copies of both sides of the ticket, in case it gets lost in transit.
07Win a Bigger Payout by Choosing Rarer Numbers
While it's not possible to predict which numbers will be chosen in any given lottery drawing, picking certain numbers might have a slight advantage, not for your chances of winning, but for your payout.
If you win a lottery jackpot, there's a chance you might have to split the payout with other people who picked the same numbers. So all things being equal (in that all numbers are equally likely to be picked), you might as well try to select rarer numbers to improve your odds of keeping more of the pot for yourself.
So how do you know which numbers are rare? Some people try to use statistics like those offered by Powerball to find out which numbers are chosen least often. Others look at combinations that other people tend to avoid, like consecutive numbers. Using a lottery app might help you select and remember numbers to play.
Sometimes, winning the lottery isn't as important as not losing it. Unfortunately, many scammers try to take advantage of people's dream of winning the lottery. Here are a few tips to protect yourself and avoid lottery scams:
- Only buy tickets from authorized lottery retailers.
- It's not legal to sell lottery tickets across national borders. You can usually buy tickets if you are located in the country, but offers to sell international lottery tickets by mail or through the internet are usually illegal.
- If you didn't buy a lottery ticket or participate in a second-chance lottery game, you didn't win.
- The lottery doesn't notify you when you win; you are responsible for checking your winning tickets.
- You're never required to pay money up-front to receive a winning lottery prize.
For more tips, see Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams.
How to Win the Lottery: 7 Tips that Really Work
No Schemes! Common-Sense Lottery-Winning Tips
If you read books or search the internet for how to win the lottery, you'll find a lot of tips that don't work. Lottery frequency schemes (every number has an equal chance of winning, no matter how recently it was drawn), software that's supposed to be better at picking numbers, and other forms of wishful thinking abound.
There is no way to predict the numbers that will come up in the lottery. The drawings are completely random, so the best you can do is try to pick unusual numbers so you won't have to split in case there's a tie.
That doesn't mean that there's no way of increasing your odds of winning, though. Here are some common-sense tips that really will help you win the lottery.