The Odds Of Winning The Lottery

Logo Of The British National Lottery
Logo Of The British National Lottery


Kevin Halstead from Lancashire won £2.3 million on the UK lottery draw recently but has decided to stay driving the same bus he has been for the last seventeen years. He said, “I don’t want to pack my job in. I asked my boss for time off, a month maybe two, but I don’t want to cut myself off from my friends and I really enjoy my job.” Kevin will also buy a pony for his daughter and may move back into the village of Eccleston where he was born but is happy with his Renault Laguna car he recently bought.

Most of us dream of winning the British National Lottery but what are the odds of winning a jackpot like Kevin Halstead?

The chances of winning the top prize has been estimated as 1 in 13 983 816, which are about the same odds as an individual becoming an astronaut. You are more likely to be struck by lightning (I in 2.32 million). In 1999, mathematician Bill Hartson calculated that a smart consortium could buy £100 000 of tickets each time the jackpot rolled, would have a 1 in 14 chance of winning the jackpot and end up in profit.

The jackpot is only one of the prizes, of course. It has been calculated that an average on one million players win some prize in each weeks draw. To win the jackpot you have to match all six numbers drawn from the range 1 and 49 but you can win lower amounts with five, four or even three numbers matched. Typical values won in these lower levels tend to range from £100 000 to £10 and the chances of winning drop from around 1 in 2.3 million to 1 in 56.7. Indeed, the probability of winning any prize is approximately 1 in 54.

A more efficient way to play would be through a lottery syndicate. In such a syndicate, the money won by any member is distributed amongst the group. This of course improves the chances of any one player receiving some return on his stake.  It is estimated that syndicates win one in four of the jackpots.

There are several schemes available to improve your chances of winning something, but perhaps the most attractive is the Elottery programme. The reasons for this are largely mathematical but for five pounds a week you are given forty-four entries into both the weekly draws (on Wednesday and Saturday) as part of a syndicate of forty-nine players, although any empty places are covered by Virtual World Direct, the parent company, to ensure no member loses out. The syndicate actually only selects five main numbers and then enters these numbers forty-four times into the British National Lottery. The sixth number is selected from the remaining forty-four numbers in order and is added to the five already chosen. The odds of winning a prize thus drops to 1 in 13 (an increase of 702%).

The UK lottery draw is just that: a lottery. There are ways to improve your chances of winning a prize however and joining a syndicate certainly seems to do just that. In truth there are now smarter ways to play the British National Lottery.


Please note, as of December 2010, the Elottery scheme offered by VWD is no longer available.

However, also offers an attractive lottery syndicate scheme. Find out more by clicking on the banner below.

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