YOUR luck needs to be in if you want to strike it rich on the lottery as it’s a game of chance rather than skill.
There are lotteries all over the world and it’s possible to strike it rich in all of them.
While most lotto games are limited to residents or tourists buying a ticket while in their borders, you can still take part by betting on which numbers will come up.
If you’re used to punting on football you might find it a bit strange placing a bet on lottery numbers.
Studying form, injuries and suspension can help you hit the jackpot if you’re punting on a Manchester derby or a Champions League clash but there’s no way of predicting which numbers will come up in a random draw.
However, the rewards are much bigger if it’s your lucky day and jackpot wins can even run into the billions in lottery draws.
What lotteries can I play?
Many people in the UK wrongly assume they can only take part in the Lotto and Euromillions draws when it comes to chasing a big jackpot win.
Thanks to bookies and specialised lottery websites you can have a stake in draws all across the globe, from Ireland all the way to Brazil and America.
When you’re playing these overseas games you’re not actually buying a ticket for the draw, as those lotteries are usually limited to residents of the country in question.
Instead, the bookie or specialised websites act as a middleman, making money from the stakes of everyone playing then paying out on wins.
You have two options when punting on the lottery: Draw betting and number betting.
Draw betting effectively mirrors the lottery game while number betting sees players place wagers on certain digits coming up at fixed odds.
Specialised websites usually concentrate on draw betting while bookies tend to offer mostly number betting.
But be aware that if you win a massive jackpot you often won’t get the full amount up front. Some bookies have maximum payouts that don’t even reach the millions while the specialised websites will pay an initial lump sum then you will get the rest in instalments over months or years.
Make sure you check the small print with bookies and websites to check on maximum payouts.
Which lottos offer the best chance of a jackpot win?
It’s important to weigh up your chances of getting a jackpot win before deciding which lottery to have a punt on. For example, the Irish Lottery is cheaper and has better odds than the UK Lotto. The odds of a jackpot win in Ireland are 1/10,737,573 while in the UK those numbers jump to 1/45,057,474.
And it costs around £1.80 for a line on the Irish Lottery while a single UK line is £2. Although you need to buy a minimum of two lines in the Emerland Isle, this doubles your chances of a win.
But it’s actually Poland’s Mini Lotto that offers the best chance of a jackpot success at 1/850,668, with the odds leaping to 1/6,724,520 for the next likely jackpot win in Sweden.
While the big cash on offer in the States is tempting, your chances of winning the Powerball are just 1/ 292,201,338 while a MegaMillions success is even less likely at 1/302,575,350.
Which countries offer the biggest payouts?
If you’re chasing an eye-watering amount of money then America is place the look. The jackpots for their Powerball and Megamillions draws dwarf even the Euromillions.
The biggest Powerball payouts have gone over the £1billion mark while the top Megamillions reward was just short of £530m.
Only two European lotteries have ever paid out nine-figure sums, with the top Euromillions jackpot reaching £169m and Italy’s SuperEnaLotto landing its winner £125m.
The biggest sum won on the UK Lotto is £66m while the Irish Lotto’s biggest prize has been £17m.
But when jackpots climb to these massive levels it is usually because more people than normal have been buying tickets and that makes your chances of success much smaller.
It's not just about the jackpot
Most punters betting on the lottery will never get close to a jackpot win so it’s important to weigh up which game offers you the best chance of landing some money.
Each lottery will pay out different amounts depending on how many of your chosen numbers come up.
For example, three winning numbers in the UK Lotto pays a fixed £30 while it’s just over £5 in the US Powerball, although that jumps to £80 if you also have the powerball.
For draw betting, the French Lotto offers the best chance of any prize at 1/6, with the UK Lotto second at 1/9 and the Euromillions 1/13. A win in the MegaMillions or Powerball is a 1/24 shot while Irish Lottery success is rated 1/29.
If you want the consolation of even a minor triumph then stay away from Brazil’s Mega Sena draw as the chances are just 1/2332.
When it comes to number betting, it’s worth looking around to see which bookies offer the best odds. For example, Paddy Power offer 5/1 if you want to bet on just one number being drawn in the Irish Lotto and it increases on a sliding scale right up to 50,000/1 for five numbers. But Ladbrokes only offer bets on three balls and above, on a scale from 700/1 to 124999/1.
Bookies always try to tempt punters with promotions and start-up offers so it could pay to shop around before deciding which site to use.
The odds are always stacked against you when it comes to a life-changing jackpot win as you are more likely to be struck by lightning or crushed by a meteorite.
But dreams do come true, with players being handed massive cheques every week when their numbers finally come up. Somebody has to win these huge bundles of cash and it could be you!