Which UK lottery game has the best odds of winning?

Lotto, EuroMillions, Set For Life, Thunderball…Is one lottery game easier to win than the others?

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

If you like playing the lottery, there are plenty of games you can play here in the UK.

For example, there’s the nation’s favourite game, Lotto, which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday. Then there’s EuroMillions, which can offer some extraordinary cash prizes, such as the £169m jackpot that was up for grabs in October. There’s also Set For Life, which offers the chance to win a £10k payment every month for the next 30 years. And finally, there’s Thunderball, which offers slightly smaller jackpots.

But which lottery game has the best odds of winning?

Lottery odds

According to the National Lottery website, the odds of winning the major prizes are:

  • Lotto jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474

  • EuroMillions jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160

  • Set For Life top prize: 1 in 15,339,390

  • Thunderball top prize: 1 in 8,060,598

So, out of these four lottery games, the game with the best odds, in terms of winning the top prize, is Thunderball.

However, before you rush out and buy a Thunderball ticket, let’s put these odds in perspective.

Do you know what the odds of being struck by lightning in the UK are? Around one in 1.2m, according to ResearchGate. That means that you’re far more likely to be struck by lightning before you win the main Thunderball prize.

Meanwhile, the odds of being eaten by a shark are around one in 3.7m, according to National Geographic. So, again, you’re far more likely to be eaten by a shark before you win the main Thunderball prize.

When you think about it like this, it’s probably not worth spending your money on a lottery ticket, is it?

An easier way to get rich

If you’re serious about boosting your wealth, I’d forget about the lottery and channel your money into shares instead.

With shares, the odds of making money are actually stacked in your favour if you invest for the long term, simply because the stock market tends to rise over time. 

Of course, shares won’t make you rich overnight in the same way that the lottery could. But I wouldn’t let that put you off – you’d be amazed at how quickly a small investment in shares can grow. Over time, even small amounts invested can grow into a large sum.

For example, I calculate that if you invested just £5 per day into a diversified portfolio of shares and generated a return of 10% per year on your money, you’d be looking at a savings pot of around £300,000 after 30 years. Invest a tenner per day and generate that kind of return and you could be looking at savings of well over half a million in 30 years. 

And don’t think you need a lot of money to get started with shares. These days, you can start investing with £100.

Ultimately, given the choice between playing the lottery and investing in shares, I see shares as the clear winner. If you’re looking to learn more about boosting your wealth through shares, you’ve come to the right place.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

More on Investing Articles

Shot of a senior man drinking coffee and looking thoughtfully out of a window
Investing Articles

Here’s why investors should consider buying Scottish Mortgage shares today

After a steady rise in recent times, this Fool thinks Scottish Mortgage shares could be worth considering. Here he explains…

Read more »

Young black man looking at phone while on the London Overground
Growth Shares

This FTSE 250 stock keeps blowing broker forecasts out of the water

Jon Smith considers the ever-increasing share price targets for a FTSE 250 stock that has risen by 120% in the…

Read more »

A mixed ethnicity couple shopping for food in a supermarket
Investing Articles

Marks and Spencer shares could rise 29%, according to this broker

Marks and Spencer shares currently sport a P/E ratio of just 10, and one well-known City broker believes the company…

Read more »

Smart young brown businesswoman working from home on a laptop
Investing Articles

2 of the best FTSE 100 beginner stocks to consider buying

The Footsie offers people just beginning their investment journey some of the best stocks to buy. Here are two to…

Read more »

Middle-aged white man wearing glasses, staring into space over the top of his laptop in a coffee shop
Investing Articles

Here’s why the Aviva share price suddenly dived

The Aviva share price suddenly dropped by over 6% the other day. But there's a simple explanation for this sudden…

Read more »

Long-term vs short-term investing concept on a staircase
Investing Articles

With no savings, I’d listen to Warren Buffett to aim for long-term wealth

Warren Buffett looks for "1-foot bars" to step over, not "7-foot bars" to jump. Stephen Wright looks at what this…

Read more »

Oil rig
Investing Articles

Is a comeback on the cards for this FTSE 250 stock?

An 11%  increase in its share price over the past three months and a mega merger should see this FTSE…

Read more »

Investing Articles

Rolls-Royce shares look cheap to me after its investment-grade ratings clean sweep

Despite recent gains, Rolls-Royce shares look great value to me, as it moves into its next phase of growth spurred…

Read more »