Jackpot slots vs lottery - which offers the best chance of winning big?
One of the most obvious facts about a player who enjoys the thrill of playing progressive slots is that any game that offers them a chance to wager a small amount of money, with the potential to win a life-changing amount, is going to be attractive to them.
As such, it is fair to say that the type of player who enjoys playing progressive slots, is also the type of player who will enjoy having a wager on their respective National Lottery - read our Mega Moolah vs National Lottery article.
In this article, we'll examine which of the two offers you the best chance statistically of a big win, as well as examining what the different pros and cons are of playing each game.
The Pros of playing Lottery Games
- Can play several weeks in advance by using the same numbers for successive weeks. Some lotteries even let you play continuously by Direct Debit or similar.
- Very easy to play and understand - no technology is required, simply a pen to mark off your numbers if you pay and play at a local shop.
- All wins are automatically paid to the winner on production of the winning ticket, just remember NOT TO LOSE YOUR TICKET!
- Smaller winnings can be collected at lottery outlets, or paid direct into your account.
The Pros of Slot Gaming
- Far wider choice of progressive slot games to play and they are all accessible and easy to play too.
- One spin on a slot can cost considerably less than buying a single lottery ticket. One British slots fan, John Orchard, won £5.3m for just a 0.30p (or cent) bet playing Mega Moolah.
- Slots can be played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- You can increase or decrease the amount you wager depending on your bankroll, rather than being forced to play for a fixed price, on many progressive slots.
- Progressive slots offer a far greater range of smaller prizes to be won in feature games and the base game.
Which of the two types of game offers me the best chance of success?
In order to examine which of the two types of game offers you the chance of winning a set amount, let's say for arguments sake, over £1 million in British Pounds, US Dollars or Euros, then we need to look at the odds of winning the big prize on different lotteries and progressive slots.
Lottery Game Jackpots (all values are rounded up or down to the nearest million)
One of the best things about the most popular lottery games in the world is that because these games are heavily regulated and transparent and are based on mathematical principles, it is actually rather easy to calculate the chances of winning the prize from a single ticket.
We have researched nine of the top lotteries played around the world today and outlined what the chances are of your single ticket being the lucky one that lands the big jackpot each weekend and the shocking thing is just how much greater your chances are of winning playing some lotteries compared to others.
Here's our list of lotteries complete with how much chance your single ticket has to win:
- Italian Lottery (Italy) - 1 in 623 million.
- Mega Millions Lottery (US) - 1 in 259 million.
- Powerball (US) - 1 in 175 million.
- German Lotto (Germany) - 1 in 140 million.
- Euromillions Lottery (Europe-wide) - 1 in 117 million.
- Italian Lottery Second Prize (Italy) - 1 in 104 million.
- National Lottery (UK) - 1 in 14 million.
- Irish Lotto (Ireland) - 1 in 8 million.
- Australian Lottery - (Australia) 1 in 4 million.
- El Gordo Lotto (Spain) - 1 in 100,000.
What can clearly be seen in this list is that your chances of winning the lottery does very much depend on your nationality. Play the lottery in Spain for example and you are 623 times more likely to win the lottery than you are if you play the Italian Lottery further across the Mediterranean.
Australian players have twice as much chance of landing their big lottery prize as the Irish do of winning theirs and Australians are 3.5 times more likely to win their lottery than British citizens are if they play Camelot's National Lottery.
Interestingly, if you play the National Lottery in the UK and the Euromillions game, you are over eight times more likely to win the National Lottery than you are the Euromillions game (both tickets cost the same £2 to enter in the UK).
The real shocker however is the Italian Lottery which has by far the longest odds of success of 1 in 623 million. Indeed you are more than seven times more likely to win the National Lottery in the UK, than you are to even win the second prize on the Italian National Lottery.
At the other end of the scale, the chances of winning El Gordo in Spain is a relatively modest 1 in 100,000, however the chances are that you will share your prize with many more ticket holders than you would any of the other top lottery prizes available across Europe.
Slot Game Jackpots
Most of the top progressive jackpot games, such as the Mega Moolah slot, Major Millions slot and other big progressive jackpot games don't make details of the odds a player has of hitting the jackpot readily available.
Indeed, having researched the topic, we could only find that the Las Vegas-based progressive jackpot slot, the famous Megabucks offers players a 1 in 16.7 million chance to win.
This does however give us a starting point and based on the fact that Megabucks is generally acknowledged as being one of the most difficult and least frequently hit progressive slot games, it is relatively safe to assume that some of the biggest online progressive slots will have odds of a similar amount, or perhaps less.
When it comes to games that have smaller progressive jackpots (say those of between 500,000 and 1,000,000) then the odds of landing this jackpot also decrease as these jackpots do tend to be won more frequently than the bigger money games.
How do the biggest ever wins compare?
The biggest ever lottery jackpot win came on the 30th March 2012, when three winning tickets shared a Mega Millions jackpot of $656,000,000 ($474 million net after taxation). However, in slot gaming, jackpots cannot be shared, so perhaps this is an invalid comparison.
The biggest individual ticket win came in May 2013 when US citizen Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, won a top prize of $590.5 million ($370.9 million after tax) on the Powerball lottery.
The biggest single ticket winner in Europe was a single ticket winner in July 2011, based in the UK, who won £161.7 million ($260 million equivalent in US Dollars).
In comparison, the biggest ever progressive jackpot slot win came in March 2003, when a software engineer from Los Angeles won $39.7m US Dollars playing the Megabucks slot.
In the online realm, the biggest winner of a progressive slot was an anonymous player from Helsinki, Finland who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, won 17.8 million Euros on the Mega Fortune slot. However this was surpassed by a British player winning just shy of 17.9 million Euros on the Mega Moolah slot in 2015!
Perhaps most excitingly of all, there is a chance that this latter record could fall over the coming months, if the current Mega Moolah jackpot is not won, as it already stands at near £12 million and counting.
So, all in all, it depends which lottery game you play and which progressive slot you play as to which offers the greater chance of success. In general though, slots do tend to offer better odds of success, especially for wins of a comparable amount, however it must be realised that the chances of winning for players, remain very small.
But that is precisely the reason why these progressive jackpots can grow so large in the first place.
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Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.