Lotto Odds and amount of tickets

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Are the lotto odds of winning better if you buy multiple tickets?

Over the course of a few years, I have read many articles and posts about people wondering if they would increase their chances of winning the lotto if they buy more than one ticket. Most of the replies stated more or less the same thing and it boils down to:

Divide the number of tickets you bought for that drawing by the total number of combinations

Powerball Lotto Odds

Is this a correct reply?
Absolutely. This is the basic formula for computing the probability.

For instance:
When playing Powerball, the lotto odds of your tickets matching the winning Jackpot combination when you purchase:

  • 1 Ticket: 1 in 146,107,962
  • 2 Tickets: 1 in 73,053,981
  • 3 Tickets: 1 in 48,702,654
  • 4 Tickets: 1 in 36,526,990.5
  • 5 Tickets: 1 in 29,221,592.4
  • Etc.

Megamillions Lotto Odds

Similarly, when playing MegaMillions, the lotto odds of your tickets matching the winning Jackpot combination when you buy:

  • 1 Ticket: 1 in 175,711,536
  • 2 Tickets: 1 in 87,855,768
  • 3 Tickets: 1 in 58,570,512
  • 4 Tickets: 1 in 43,927,884
  • 5 Tickets: 1 in 35,142,307.2
  • Etc.

Why do people argue about lotto odds if it is so simple?
They argue due to the definition of the word chances. People would rather use the word probability than chances or odds.

The question by Daren Henning in Dr. Math’s Powerball Odds When Buying More Tickets also alludes to this confusion, however, he did not really clarify the answer.

Mr. Henning says that he was arguing with his friend about what the lotto odds would be when buying 10 tickets in a hypothetical 80,000,000 Powerball lottery. The friend said that the odds would be 10/80,000,000 or 1 in 8,000,000. However, Henning thinks the lotto odds would be to 79,999,990 to 1. Dr. Math agrees with the friend and explains why.

To be correct, Henning should have stated that he believed the lotto odds were 10 to 79,999,990. In this case, he too would be correct.

How can they both be correct?
Once again, because of the definition of the word “Odds”
It is context dependent.

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This article originally posted on http://play-uk-lottery.com/ and re-posted here with permission.

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