Ok, so when I thought about starting this blog I initially thought that reviews, deals and discounts would be good information to share with everybody, I still do. So why am I now writing about the UK lottery?
Well, I am interested in saving, and helping others to save money where ever they can. So I guess I am just going to have to expand the tag-line of this blog to include ……and other stuff.
I have been playing the UK lottery on and off since it started in 1994. Do you remember Noel Edmunds hosting the first show? (I’m showing my age now!) There have been many changes over the years, they changed the name to Lotto (I still can’t get used to that), then they increased the ticket price to £2 and now they have increased the number of balls giving odds of 45 million to one of winning the jackpot.
Over the years I have won less than £200 overall and estimate that I must have spent somewhere between £1000 – 2000. This got me thinking, is it really worth playing? Like a lot of people out there I have never had great surpluses of cash and had to work hard for every penny, there have been times when I have been downright broke! But like everybody, I have dreamed of getting a win that is big enough to make a significant lifestyle change, quitting the day job etc.
At one time I used to teach Maths (yes, that it maths for you American readers, it is not called Math) so I decided to approach my decision logically. I would not presume a big win but just crunch the numbers for a small win and see how it came out……… It came out like this:
To calculate the chances of matching 4 numbers, which typically wins approximately £100 = 1 in (49/6)*(48/5)*(47/4)*(46/3)*(45/43)*(44/42) which is 1 in 15486.953. This calculates a single occurrence but there are 15 different combinations of matching 4 numbers from 6 numbers [6!/(4!*(6-4)!)], so you divide the answer by 15 to get 1 in 15486.953/15 or odds of 1 in 1032.4 of winning approximately £100
Do your chances improve playing every draw? No, because each instance of a draw happening is an independent event and it is not affected by previous draws.
This means that to be reasonably certain of winning approximately £100 I would have to play 1 line in each of 516 draws, or twice a week for just under 5 years, in the process I would have spent £1032. However, if I had saved my £2, twice a week, over the same period and not touched it, I would definitely have £516!
So that, dear readers, is why I am not going to play the lottery any more. You could argue that it is worth the cost for the thrill of the draw or that a lot of the money goes to worthy causes. Well for me the thrill has worn a bit thin and I think with the amounts involved they could give a lot more to charities, but if you decide to continue playing then good luck! I will keep my fingers crossed for you!