The lottery is one of the most popular gambling games in the world. This is to be expected, considering that it is also one of the oldest. Evidence suggests that people have been playing games resembling the lottery since Ancient times.
Of course, with a game that old, some myths, misconceptions, and outright lies are bound to come up. In this article, we go over some of the biggest myths surrounding lotteries that people still believe today.
“You Can’t Play the Lottery Online”
A modern myth that plenty of people spread unwittingly is that you can’t play lotto games online. However, that is not true at all. In fact, the lottery is one of the more popular games that you can access at various online casinos and lottery sites.
In India, the lottery is an incredibly popular game. To meet the demand, a lot of gambling sites feature either real, paper-ticket lotteries or live-streamed lottery games. For example, https://casinodays2.com/in is a well-known website where you can play all of the classic games like slots, roulette, and blackjack, but also wager money on several types of live lottery games.
These live-streamed lottery games resemble traditional lotteries where physical tickets are bought at a retailer. In addition, traditional lotteries, although not localized Indian ones, but rather international lotteries such as the US Powerball and EuroJackpot, can also be played online at various lottery sites.
“Lightning vs. Lottery”
One notable myth that you’ll often hear is “the probability of getting struck by lightning is greater than the chance of winning the lottery.” While the saying is likely not meant to be taken literally, studies have been done in an attempt to prove or disprove it.
The United States National Weather Service researched the number of people struck by lightning versus the number of people who won the US Powerball. They found that the risk of being struck by lightning in a year was 1 in 1.2 million. In comparison, the chance of winning the US Powerball jackpot is 1 in 292 million.
At first glance, it seems that this proves the myth. However, we have to compare apples with apples, which we aren’t. The risk of getting struck by lightning is calculated per year, while the chance of winning the US Powerball jackpot is per ticket and draw.
Assuming that a person buys 5 tickets to every US Powerball draw, that would equate to 15 tickets per week and a total of 780 tickets per year. If we divide the single chance of winning the jackpot with these yearly tickets, we find that the yearly chance of winning is actually 1 in 374,358 – much greater than the risk of getting struck by lightning.
So, whether the saying is true or not depends on how you look at things. And let’s not forget that the US Powerball also has a second prize of a substantial ₹7.5 Crore which is much easier to win, the odds only being 1 in 11 million.
“Lottery Takes Skill”
Skill and the lottery is a bit of an oxymoron. However, there are quite a lot of people who believe that they can develop certain skills to help them win the lottery. These self-proclaimed skills often involve looking at past numbers, thinking that certain numbers are more likely to show up than others.
Many people also mistakenly believe that circling the same numbers over and over again will eventually result in a win. However, the fact is that the lottery is an entirely luck-based game. Every draw is completely random and not affected by previous draw results.
From a statistical point of view, circling the same numbers has the same chance to win as playing new numbers every time. While it might feel good to play certain numbers, it doesn’t matter which you pick as your chances of winning will always be the same.
Now, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of winning, although we wouldn’t it skill. This is to purchase more tickets, choose a lottery with better jackpot odds, and play in a syndicate with other players where your tickets are pooled together and profits split proportionally between you.
“Odds Change Based on the Jackpot Size”
A lot of lottery players believe that the odds of victory change along with the jackpot. Most commonly, you will hear people say that if the jackpot is larger, the odds are worse, and if the jackpot is smaller, the odds are better. Therefore, a lot of people would believe that playing the lottery when the jackpot is smaller is the best option.
However, this belief is based on a misunderstanding. For example, a big lottery, like the US Powerball, has the same odds for the jackpot, regardless of whether the jackpot is $20 million or $400 million.
What is true though is that smaller lotteries tend to have better odds. For instance, the jackpot odds for the France Lotto are only 1 in 19 million. However, this has nothing to do with the jackpot being smaller or larger from one draw to another. The reason is simply that the lottery has a smaller prize pool to begin with, coupled with the fact that different lotteries have different payout structures.
In summary, lotteries with smaller jackpots do tend to have better odds compared to lotteries with larger ones, but the odds do not change within the same lottery when the jackpot size changes.
“The Lotto Can’t Cause Gambling Problems”
A somewhat dangerous myth is that lotto players aren’t at risk of developing compulsive gambling problems. It is sometimes argued that the infrequency in which the lottery is played and the lack of instant rewards compared to slot machines and other casino games makes the lottery harmless.
Now, it may be true that the risk of developing a gambling problem from solely playing the lottery is lower than that of other gambling games. However, for people who are prone to addiction, there is certainly a real risk that players should be aware of. People who don’t consider playing the lottery as a form of gambling should also be extra cautious.
There are many signs indicative of a gambling problem. For instance, buying lottery tickets with money you can’t afford to lose, your savings, or with borrowed money. Another sign is chasing losses, telling yourself that whatever is lost will be recovered whenever you win.
Lottery addiction is definitely not a myth, so please always be aware of the risks and play responsibly.