It wouldn’t be unrealistic to claim that most people would want to win the lottery. Especially since this blog is designed for those playing the lottery, we’re pretty safe in guessing that you’d be very interested in that. So given that, is there a way to improve your odds on winning the lottery? Even better, is there a way to make it certain? There’s a lot of advice out there on how to do it, so we thought we’d break down how the lottery works and if there is a way to cheat the system.
How The Lottery Works
Before you can beat a system, you have to understand how it works. Luckily, the system of the lottery is simple. Players guess what random selection of numbers will be pulled from a random number generator, within a range of possibilities. Numbers are then pulled from the random number generator. If your guess matches up to the resulting numbers, you win.
This random number generator can come in many forms, be it a washing machine that spits out numbered balls, or an actual computer that generates random numbers. All that is required is the guess and the RNG.
It's an incredibly simple system, so simple in fact, there's very little to grasp onto in terms of ways to cheat it. You can even see that in action, based on the fact that the lottery has never been mastered by anyone in a consistent way and lotteries have been played for centuries.
But people have tried nonetheless. So let's take a look at the methods touted by people, as ones that will work. Then we'll take a look at ones that actually do work.
Winning the Lottery Method 1: Maths
Readers may remember an episode of the illusionist Derren Brown’s show, The Event. In this episode, the ever trustworthy Mr Brown, claimed that he had predicted the lottery numbers by using maths. His method was left unstated, although the technique of predicting the numbers after they'd be drawn was clearly one of a kind.
Playing A Wide Range of Numbers
A more specific method was trialed by a group of 17 professors from Bradford University. The syndicate was formed with the explicit objective of coming up with a winning scheme for the National Lottery.
The leader of the group, Barry Waterhouse, explained that the group “weren't winning with the numbers being picked. So we thought of a different method which would mean all 49 numbers would be used”
The basic idea for this is that if they have enough people playing a range of numbers, then they should eventually win the lottery. In October 2006, their total losses hit £3,536, which was made up for by their eventual win of £311,700.
Does It Work?
The short answer is, no. The longer answer is that playing a wider range of numbers doesn't increase your chances. This may sound counter intuitive, but your chances of getting any number in the lottery is equally as high as each other.
You're just as likely to get the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 in order as you are getting a random selection of numbers, 4,32,47,1,22,16. By playing a range of numbers, they weren't increasing the chances of winning.
What was actually increasing their chances of winning was the number of tickets bought. By having 17 individuals buy tickets, all with different numbers on and all of them being able to take credit for a win; this greatly increased their chances of winning over any single individual.
It stands to reason that if you bought 17 tickets each week, all with different numbers, rather than just 1 ticket; you would be much more likely to win. Just because they did win doesn't prove their system works either. They simply spent more money on their tickets and then happened to win; claiming it as a success of their system.
Winning the Lottery Method 2: Magic & Rigging
These are some of the more ludicrous methods that are employed by people. This is just a warning for you to keep a clear head and stay rational when approaching the lottery.
Supernatural or magical methods of winning the lottery are surprisingly common and continue to make money. Millions of books are sold each year convincing you that methods ranging from anything from positive thinking, to actual magic incantations can get you exactly what you want.
Deal Or No Deal host Noel Edmonds has publicly praised his system of writing down what he wants on a piece of paper and then forgetting all about it, claiming that the technique is what he uses every time he wants something. And the technique works every time, apparently.
The major problem is this. As we said earlier, most people want to win the lottery. Think how many people are using these methods to win the jackpot. Now think how many people actually win the jackpot. Either the universe has a waiting list where everyone who has wished to win the lottery will get their cut, or it simply doesn't work.
We don't think this really needs to be stated that this section is condoning this method. It's definitely not. Aside from being really, really illegal, the fact of the manner is, it also doesn't work.
Rigging a lottery is not like robbing a bank. You don't just cut and run with the money. Lotteries have an extremely strong vested interest in making sure they haven't been ripped off and will be very skeptical of any winner. There was the recent case of the National Lottery winner who claims she had a winning ticket, but it got caught in the wash, therefore damaging the serial number of the ticket. Even if this isn't a lie, it will be investigated very deeply and even then, she's unlikely to win her case.
Hundreds of others are also claiming the same thing.
You will have to hang around, be investigated whilst you wait for the money and you will most certainly get caught. No one's ever gotten away with it before in a UK lottery. Our advice would be to not even attempt it. If it could be done, with the money on the table, it would have certainly been done before now.
Do They Work?
If you want to win the lottery, please don't get sucked in by these scams. It's a guessing game of numbers, that's all. You can't wish it to be true. Sadly, the real advice is, that if you want to win the lottery and are spending money on help books to do so; you'd probably be better off on spending that money on more tickets.
Also don't commit crimes, for obvious reasons.
Winning The Lottery Method 3: Ways That Actually Help
In the earlier sections, we've defined the main components that make up the lottery and the factors that are against the player:
- Fundamentally Random
- Lots of Competition
- Lots of Possible Number Combinations
So based on this, what is the minimum you can do.
Check Your Ticket
This may sound obvious, but surprisingly the biggest obstacle in getting their prize for lottery players, isn't how they try to win, but when they actually do win.
Figures published by Camelot, the company in charge of the biggest UK and EU lotteries, claim that £1.4 Billion worth of prizes have gone unclaimed in the last 18 years. That racks up to £75 Million a week.
The biggest prize ever left uncollected was a Euro Millions prize back in December 2012, which totaled £63,837,543,60. Unclaimed money waits around for 180 days before it is given to good causes, which are charities whom Camelot supports.
Giving the money to charity is a clear upside to the money not being claimed, but the point still stands. Always check your ticket after the draw. You never know if you've won and even if you haven't received the jackpot, that doesn't mean that you haven't won a healthy prize.
More Tickets = More Chances
In the National Lottery, you have the choice of choosing 6 numbers, ranging from 1 – 49. This gives you a 13,983,815 to 1 chance of winning. That's a lot. In our earlier example of the Bradford University scientists, we said that their chances of winning were increased, not by the numbers they chose, but by the number of tickets they bought.
The same applies here. Clearly you must actually have a bankroll and control how many tickets you buy. As a disclaimer here, the number of tickets you buy will affect your chances of winning by the microscopic of margins.
But if you buy 10 tickets, with 10 different number combinations, your chances of winning will be 13,983,815 to 10, which is at least 10 times higher. The numbers you choose aren't important. All the variations of numbers are equally likely to come up due to the games randomness.
However, you only need one correct set to win. The more sets of numbers you have on a ticket, the more your chances go up.
Play Smaller Lotteries
This all leads on to the final point. So far we have found some minor fixes to the issues we mentioned earlier.
- Fundamentally Random – Choose multiple sets of numbers
- Lots of Competition – ?
- Lots of Possible Number Combinations – Choose multiple sets of numbers
The only factor now is to lower the competition. That simply isn't going to happen with the bigger lotteries. Lotteries that have less competition, also frequently have lower sets of numbers to attain before winning a prize.
With a lottery that requires anything as low as 4 numbers. The chances of winning in this instance was 2,179 to 1. This is much more likely than the 1 in 14 million chance it is today, with just 2 bonus numbers added.
Going for the alternative lotteries, with smaller numbers of players, means you'll have a higher chance of winning. Those smaller lotteries haven't been forced to increase their number sets to facilitate high numbers of players. They keep the numbers required low, to balance out how many will win it. Too many numbers and no one will win, too low and everyone wins.
Go for smaller lotteries. You'll win less, but you have a greater chance of winning. It's low risk, low reward, but it is objectively the smartest move to make if you're aiming to win anything from a lottery. Comparison sites like The Lotter allow you to look at all the lotteries in operation across Europe and the UK, so you can get a better idea of what there is to play out there.
How To Win The Lottery
Overall, there is no magic you can cast to win. You just have to understand the numbers, accept that the game is a random and unlikely guess; then you play by its rules. Wishful thinking and complex algorithms simply won't work.
The lottery is built on randomness and the more popular the lottery gets, the more numbers are thrown in to balance it; therefore the more random and competitive it becomes.
The best thing to do is bet smarter. Play smaller local lotteries, buy more than one ticket, play multiple sets of numbers and stick to a reasonable budget. We can't promise you'll win, but at least you'll know that you've done all you can.