Probability of winning
The chances of winning the jackpot at a lottery (one of the most popular games of chance) is determined by several different factors which include the count of the numbers drawn, if the order is significant and if the drawn numbers are again subject to further drawings for selecting the jackpot number.
Understanding the lottery
Take an example of a typical 6 to 49 lotto where six numbers are drawn from 49. The six numbers which are drawn must match to the numbers printed on the ticket in order to become the jackpot winner. This is regardless to the order in which these numbers are drawn. In such a lottery, the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in almost 14 million. To apply these odds in real life, consider a case where an individual purchases one lottery ticket every week. What this means is that if a person purchases one ticket every week, the person can expect to win the jackpot only once in 269,000 years. On the other hand if the person purchases one lottery ticket every single second of every day for one whole year, he/she can win the jackpot around 2.25 times in a year.
The odds of winning
The odds of winning an actual lottery will vary depending on several different factors. Mega millions is quite a popular lottery in the US which is known for its very large jackpots. This large jackpot offered is made possible only by designing the lottery in such a way that it is very difficult to win it. The chances of winning this lottery are only 1 in 175,711,536.
In Mega Millions the players have to pick six numbers but there are two different bags which are used. The first bag will have numbers 1 to 56 and the first five numbers will come from this bag while the sixth number will come from the second bags which will 1 to 46 numbers. In order to win the jackpot, the player's five numbers should match the five regular numbers which are picked and the sixth number should match the mega ball number which is picked.
The most difficult lottery is considered to be SuperEnalotto. In this lottery, the players have to try and match the six numbers from 90 and the odds of winning a jackpot are 1 in 622,614,630.
Most of the lotteries will offer smaller prizes if one of the winning numbers is matched. For example, in the Mega Millions if only the final Mega Ball number is matched the player will win only $2. As you match more numbers the prizes which are won will also go up. Though none of these prizes will increase the chances of winning the jackpot but they do allow the players to win something at least. In most lotteries quite a lot of small prizes are distributed and the jackpot would be reduced. In the national lottery of the UK, the smallest prize is that of 10 GBP for matching the three balls.
So to conclude, it is very easy to win smaller prizes in the lotteries but the probability of winning the jackpot is extremely small.
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