# Calculating the chances of winning the lottery

These are two important values to consider before choosing a specific lottery. They decide how much value you get for your money when you buy a ticket. There is a third important factor though, and we suggest you read the last part of the article as well since this one is rather important.

## Odds

The odds are simply defined by the setup of the lottery, meaning how many numbers you have to pick (correctly) out of how many. Obviously, the probability of picking the right numbers is higher when you have to pick, for example, 5 out of 49, over a lotto where you you have to pick 6 out of 55 numbers. The exact probability of winning the main price is something that most lotteries tell you on their homepage.

You could calculate it by yourself, but it is complicated formula involving a lot of "factorials" (like 6!, which in math stands for 6x5x4x3x2x1), so we will not delve into this. Just check the info that the lottery gives you.

## Winning expectation

Winning expectation is a different number. This one gives you the exact amount on money that you can expect to win per every \$ you invest. It takes into account all prize tiers you could win and the possible amount you might win in each one of those tiers. Obviously, this would be a decimal value higher than \$0 and lower than \$1. It cannot be equal to \$1,since the lottery of course needs to be making money as well. At the same time, it has to be higher than 0, otherwise it would mean that nobody ever wins anything.

The function of most lotteries being to raise money for social projects, or for public projects and such, it is normal for lotteries to have a winning expectation around \$0,60  on the dollar. The rest of the money goes into administrative expenses and is being used for whatever purpose the lottery was intended. Bear in mind that some lotteries are simply set up to generate state income, e.g. money that will be included in the government budget and used for all kinds of purposes.

Other lotteries are completely private, and aiming to generate a profit. When there is competition between various competitors in that sector, then the result often is that the value of winning expectation can be as high as \$0,95 on the dollar!

## How to determine which lottery to play

Without doing too much math, it would appear in general that comparing the top-tier prize and the cost for a ticket is a great way to get the most value for money. So, at a time where the top-tier prize (jackpot) of the lotteries available to you in the traditional way is not that high, you may want to turn to the option of buying tickets for other lotteries from foreign countries

Now of course you can't simply travel there and buy a ticket (if you have friends there, they could do it, but do you trust them in case you win big??. This is where an online ticket service comes into play. This service gives you more options, as you can see in the side column on our website. Of course they will charge you a higher price for your ticket because the have to cover their own expenses and make a profit.

But consider this: Does it make more sense to spend \$1 for a ticket in a lottery with a \$5 Million jackpot, or \$3 for a ticket for a lottery with a jackpot of \$120 Million? I guess the answer is pretty easy to find, and if this has piqued your interest, follow this link and find out what kinds of lotteries are available at RedFoxLotto.