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Which UK lottery game has the best odds of winning?

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.

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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.