Is the Lottery Worth Playing?
Is the Lottery Worth Playing?
Mathematically speaking, playing the lottery regularly over a lifetime will end up in you investing huge sums of money where the chances of getting a significant return are nearly zero. However, some may argue that spending some money on the lottery each week is worth it for the anticipation and excitement that there is a chance where players can win big, fantasising about how they might spend their winnings.
Realistically, in absolute financial terms, you are not doing yourself any favours by playing the lottery. Rather it would be much better that you place your funds into a savings account where a return in terms of interest is guaranteed—spending RM5 every week for three decades on lottery tickets will eventually amount to RM7800 down the gutter.
Some players on the opposing side of the camp will argue that you should just save the money instead. The argument is that, hypothetically, if you saved RM5 at a 3 per cent interest rate you will be left with RM11,600 eventually—which is better than nothing. As such, although you will not win millions, you will get a real return on your money rather than betting it on a lottery ticket.
The money earned can then be put aside in your savings and the interest earned can be used to pay off debts or be used during emergencies; certainly more beneficial than spending RM10 a month with nothing to show for it.
To know what your chances of winning are really like, you first need to know how the lotto functions—starting from purchasing your ticket, then choosing the numbers from the range of numbers given, and finally the numbers that will be drawn from said numbers.
And if the numbers match the numbers on your ticket; you won the lottery prize! You will also win a smaller prize if your numbers match with other jackpot numbers. Also, remember that the amount of your prize money depends on how many tickets have a similar winning number. E.g if there are two of you that have won the same number, then the prize money will be split in half.
If you are in Malaysia and there are as many as 7 local betting shops, then you must find the lottery manufacturer with the best odds to bet. In addition to buying lottery tickets on the spot, 4D Dragon’s online purchase is also the fastest growing under the epidemic.
Before you start buying tickets and trying your luck, there are a few things that you should keep an eye out for.
Allocating a Budget
Oddly, there are many strategies for budgeting as there are for playing, as some believe in the concept of “being hot”—continuing to bet more while on a winning streak. Many are inclined to believe that you should continue, but it just boils down to the fact that some people are luckier than others. However, too many people go about it wrongly, E.g. you may spend RM40 for scratch-off tickets one day and then win RM100 and RM40, and then decide to place RM50 on 4D.
The numbers are announced and it turns out you did not win anything. So what is the situation? Since you spent RM40 for scratch-off tickets, having RM140 in gross profits, you then spent RM50 for 4D and came out short. Leaving you with an RM50 deficit or RM90 gross profit. Factor in your initial investment of RM40 and that leaves you with a net profit of RM50.
Although it does seem like a disappointment, you could always say that you came out ahead; you did but at a lower potential margin.
The key here is that you should have put down RM20 instead of RM50 on 4D, and not only that, we always have a bad habit of forgetting our original investments. So the best practice would be to reinvest only the amount you begin with or less. In this instance, that would have been RM40 or less.
Always remember to draft a plan about your expenditure over a month. Be consistent and always reinvest only the amount you started with, and set aside your regular amount for next month’s playing, then keep your remaining profits in a bank.
This idea is commonly used by players in money markets such as stocks. The rule is simple; let your profits flow and cut your losses. Just remember that rule when you play the lotto, and the game will be much more enjoyable.
Being Prudent and Cautious
The golden rule to playing the lottery?—Always buy your tickets whenever possible. Never loan money to buy a ticket, and never take half measures either. In cases such as these, it is not like asking someone to help you pick up a loaf of bread for someone at the store.
If your ticket does not win or if the prize is small, then there would not be an issue. However, if the ticket turns out to be a winning ticket or a jackpot winner, then you might have a sticky situation on your hands.
At best, it just becomes more awkward than desired. At worst, this simple favor now involves over a few million ringgits. For example, if your neighbour said she would pay you the RM2 for the ticket later and you think to yourself ‘It is only RM2’, so you give her the ticket, and now she is a millionaire. Honestly, would you have felt that you were entitled to a part of that million? Since you did buy the ticket yourself, even if it is money loaned from your neighbour, which makes you feel entitled to some of the winnings.
But what if the situation was the other way around and your neighbour purchased the ticket for you? Even if you jokingly promised to split the money if you won, she can take you to court because both of you have made a verbal agreement. Understand that no matter what people’s good intentions are, not all of them will be as honourable in living up to their promise without hesitation. Unlike lottery winner Raul Zavaleta, who promised to split his $40 million when he won the jackpot. Do you see what could potentially go wrong? Hurt feelings, ruined friendships, and even lawsuits. The moral of the story is? Buy your tickets, period. But also remember that it is an entirely different situation when you give a ticket to someone as a gift or vice versa—gifts are gifts.
Get in Touch with the Lotteries
Most people find out about the lotto from their local newspapers, but for slightly more complex and nuanced matters, you may need to contact the lottery themselves. Here is what you can expect to find and from where:
Newsletters from the publications of respective lottery companies that you can find for free contain at least some information such as new online and instant games, the prizes remaining for each type of game, brief winner stories, special promotions, hot/cold numbers, and winning numbers for the past week or months. At the very least, you will find leaflets that explain how to play the games along with information on new games.
This is now the most preferred method to learn more about what is going on with your favourite lotto provider. You can get a gold mine of information that includes existing and upcoming games, instant games, playing instructions, odds, the dates of drawing, the results of drawing—some extending several months to the past. Plus you can also find the results of the draw, how to collect your prize money and much more information, you just need to visit their website to find out.
Put your questions in an email and send it to your lottery provider, you will be surprised at how much you can find out.
- Phone Numbers
Many still refer to this as “hotlines”, since most lotto providers already provide a number that they refer to as their “customer service lines”. They would usually never provide the drawing results until after the announcement but instead will provide you with useful information on how to claim your prize, the location of the nearest claim centre; or in the situation of a jackpot, more information about the lotto headquarters.
Other best practices, that fall namely on the side of strategy will be discussed below.
This popularly used method is also known as frequency analysis. It essentially involves keeping track of the individual numbers that have been drawn over some time. Think of this as handicapping a racehorse; rating his past performances to determine its chances of winning in the future.
Hot numbers—these are numbers that appear often in a certain game. What some players do is that they will exclusively play these hot numbers on the assumption that since they have appeared often in the past, they will appear again in the future. However, other players believe that the numbers are on their way out. Hence they track the cold numbers, which are overdue numbers that are yet to hit. Many veterans instead play a mix of these hot, cold, and even personal numbers such as birthdays or anniversaries.
Despite the appearance of trends in a lottery game, many lottery organisers these days go the extra mile to make sure that the numbers drawn are truly random, which negates the belief that these patterns are deliberate.
Experts have a diverse trove of opinions on tracking methods, however, which means that there is no exact guide for tracking. But once you understand the idea of frequency analysis, you can then begin to develop your tracking formula. In Texas, Janie Kallus won the jackpot worth over $21 million through tracking. Her method was slightly unorthodox, however. Because there were not many numbers to track in her state, she had to track numbers from other states’ drawings. You would not have to go that far, however, as you will be able to find publications that list the data and include charts, forecasting graphs, and diagrams.
- Special Software
You will be able to find numerous sources for computer software inside gambling-oriented publications. These can be expensive, however, which is why many players first proceed to some due diligence on the reputation of the company or person advertising the product
They also offer astrology-based systems, databases, and other methods for selecting the best numbers; as well as Random Number Generators which let you have your numbers on demand.
Present are also more sophisticated methods such as using computer algorithms or bell curves to identify number patterns. Interestingly, there is even a prevailing theory known as the “Paint Theory”, which assumes that the more paint covering the surface of the ball, the more slippery it is; making it slide out of the machine more easily. For example, an 8 will have more painted surface than a 1 or 7, whereas double digits will have even more; in situations like these every single mathematical or physical aspect is accounted for when it comes to winning the lotto.
If you want to boost your chance of winning the lotto, here are the six more helpful tips to increase your winnings.
Buy More Tickets to Increase Your Probability of Winning
The more you buy, the higher your chances of winning. But this means having to spend more money just to win a prize. Bear in mind that the worth of your winnings may not be fully compensated due to the high amount of investment put into buying tickets.
Form a Lottery Syndicate Where You Pool Money From Lottery Players
Pooling together your resources usually means that you will have a much better chance of hitting the jackpot. The only downside is that you will have to share the jackpot prize with a group of individuals; unless your group wins $500 million, then even splitting it ten ways will not be a problem. So if you do not want to spend a fortune on lotto tickets, then a syndicate is the way to go.
Look at Unpopular Games Played at Odd Times
Be sure to explore other unpopular lottery games and instead shy away from lottery games that always have a winner as most likely, people will all go to that one game, diminishing your chances of winning. Go to the less popular game with lesser players to increase your chances of winning. On a side note, less popular lottery games with fewer players will also have less competition, meaning that even though the jackpot might be smaller, it is compensated by a higher chance of winning.
Some Players Use The Numbers Of Their Birthday, Or The Birthday Of A Family Member
When this happens, you will tend to get more numbers from 1 to 31, since this equates to the days in the calendar method. Choosing numbers over 31 will not necessarily increase your chances of winning but can boost the probability of you keeping the prize for yourself.
Remember Every Number In The Lottery Has An Equal Chance of Getting Selected As The Winning Number
No software exists yet that can predict the exact winning number 100 percent of the time. But you can increase your chances of not splitting the pot if you use the more uncommon number. How does the lottery industry develop under the covid-19 epidemic?
Play The Correct Games
There are various types of lottery games with slightly different gameplay mechanisms that you can choose from. Joining the national lottery draw can reward you with a broad number pool. Whereas for local lottery draws, you must be physically present during the draw but the odds of winning are higher compared to a nationwide lotto.
Some may say that the lottery is a fool’s game and that money should be better spent by saving it in a bank or putting it into an investment with guaranteed returns, albeit at a smaller amount and longer time. However, the game of lotto brings anticipation and excitement to those who wish to seek a thrill at a significantly lower cost.
Although nothing is guaranteed in the world of lotto games, adopting best practices such as carefully managing your funds, choosing the correct games to play, and taking the time to do some due diligence on the nature of each game; to name a few, will allow players to get the most from the lottery experience without it taking a detrimental toll on their financial health and other aspects of their lives.
The key to playing the lotto is to have a balance of variety, calculated risk-taking, and a healthy level of anticipation as well as discipline to maximise your chances of enjoying your game and being rewarded for it.