What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?

Wondering how likely it is that you could win the lottery? We compared the odds with some interesting results!
1st December 2023

What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?


Ever wondered what exactly your chances of winning the lottery are? It’s no coincidence that the saying “more chance of winning the lottery” is so popular for describing scenarios where the odds are, well, very low. 

But, with such an astonishing history for creating incredible winning moments, the lottery remains a hugely popular choice for players hoping to scoop the title of “lotto winner”. In fact, it’s thought that an estimated 70% of Brits alone took part in the lottery in 2023 alone – that’s over 40 million people in the UK!

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what the odds of scooping the lottery jackpot are, then get comfy and let us fill you in.

How do you play the lottery?

The rules of how to play the lottery depends on the game that you decide to join. There are plenty of options to pick from now, from the iconic National Lottery to the Irish Lottery and the EuroMillions

The main rules are as follows: Buy a lottery ticket, mark off a group of numbers (these can be your siblings’ birthdays, your pet’s age or just a random selection), and hope the corresponding balls are drawn in the next game! 

The aim is to match all the numbers drawn with those on your ticket to be able to claim the grand prize. Smaller prizes may be awarded for matching two or more numbers though, so you could still bag a win. The amount of numbers you need to pick depends on the lottery that you’re playing, so be sure to check the rules carefully.

You can check the latest lottery results online, with the providers updating their sites with the latest information regularly and live-streaming of some games available to watch. If you think you have won, then the provider will check your lottery numbers against the ones that were drawn before confirming your title as “winner”, so be sure to keep your lottery ticket safe!

A lottery game with an interesting twist is the People’s Postcode Lottery, which is played using postcodes rather than numbers. To play the Postcode Lottery, you need to sign up for a monthly subscription and register your home postcode. If you have paid your monthly subscription fee, then you’ll be automatically entered into the next draw for a chance to win.


What are the odds of finding the winning numbers?  

With so many numbers available to draw and what can feel like endless combinations available to pick from, managing to accurately predict the winning numbers is no small task. In fact, with a whopping 45,057,474 possible combinations available in the Lotto, we’d like to say it’s a mammoth task!

To put the odds of guessing the winning numbers correctly into perspective, let’s have a look at some other events…

215:1 - Dating a millionaire 

Meeting the perfect someone who just happens to be a millionaire may not be as unlikely as you might think. Time to start the search!

5,000:1 - Getting a hole-in-one in golf

Amateur golfers around the world play every weekend hoping to score an ‘Ace’. No matter how often they play, achieving this feat is still unlikely. 

880,000:1 - Dating a supermodel

In your dreams, right? Perhaps ending up with a supermodel on your arm is not as unlikely as people would have you believe. You just never know… 

1,000,000:1 - Getting struck by lightning

The likelihood of getting struck by lightning always gets mentioned. The chances of it happening are still remote, so you don’t need to be to worry about it. 

1,505,000:1 - Becoming a movie star

Ever thought you could make it big in Hollywood? A lot of people claim they could, but as the odds suggest, you probably won't become the next Di Caprio. 

7,000,000:1 - Becoming a billionaire 

Move over Bill Gates and Richard Branson! There is a one in 7 million chance that YOU could become a billionaire in your lifetime! 

8,000,000:1 - Winning the Irish Lottery / Thunderball 

You're more likely to become a billionaire then winning one of these draws... still, buying a ticket is easier than inventing Facebook! 

11,500,000:1 - Getting attacked by a shark 

Ever since Jaws hit movie screens everyone has been convinced that sharks are lurking just waiting to attack. The truth is this is highly unlikely.

13,200,000:1 - Becoming an astronaut

A lot of children grow up dreaming of becoming an astronaut, but as these odds show, very few ever fulfil this early Apollo dream. 

14,000,000:1 - Winning the National Lottery 

We all know that correctly predicting the exact balls drawn is very tough – these odds underline that fact. 

112,000,000:1 - Killed by a vending machine falling on you

Ever rocked a vending machine when your item doesn't drop down? These odds should make you think twice!

117,000,000:1 - Winning the EuroMillions lottery

The largest EuroMillions win was an incredible £161,653,000 – this explains why the odds of winning this weekly draw are so high.

How do lottery payouts work?

If you find yourself winning the lottery, then you’ll be asked how you would like to receive your prize – as a one-off payout or in annual instalments. 

Opting for a lump sum payout will mean you’ll soon see your winnings (every last penny of it!) land in your bank account, which makes this an ideal option if you have your eye on some bigger purchases.

If you decide to pick the ‘lottery annuity’ option, then your winnings will be broken up into smaller chunks, which you’ll receive at regular intervals until all the money has been paid out. For players who would prefer a regular, dependable source of income from their winnings, then the lottery annuity option can be a popular option.

Lottery jackpots

The fact that the odds of winning the lottery are relatively low doesn’t seem to deter players from joining in the fun, with plenty of people taking part each week. In fact, if a prize isn’t won then it will often ‘roll over’ to the next week and so on, creating a lottery jackpot prize that could result in a spectacular win.

To play for the chance of bagging a lottery prize, pick a game and get stuck in!

While you’re waiting for the latest lottery results to come in, take a peek at our bingo rooms where you can test out your favourite numbers in a game of bingo and enjoy a natter with your fellow players. You can also stay up to date with the latest games and news over on our Jackpotjoy blog.

We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the National Lottery. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.