With an £11.5m Mega Moolah jackpot, is winning the lottery a lower value bet?

You may not realise it but Britain is a nation of gamblers. Not only do we have a very active and thriving online betting and gambling scene, with particular interest in sports betting, casinos, online poker and bingo in particular, but every week millions of people enter one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the last 30 years - the National Lottery.

However, as the size of the National Lottery jackpots has tended to dwindle over the years, especially from the early halcyon days of the draw, we have also found that the jackpot prizes available on some top slot games have grown. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Microgaming's Mega Moolah slot, which rewarded one British player, Jon Heywood, with a world record online slot win of over £13.2 million back in October 2015.

So, the question is, if you want to win a life-changing amount of money, does the National Lottery or a game like Mega Moolah offer you the chance to win the largest sum? Which is the cheapest to play and lastly, we'll also look at the enjoyment factor involved with playing both the lottery and Mega Moolah and decide which is also the most fun way to spend your disposable income in the hope of landing a mind-blowing cash prize.

Let's take a closer look at each game to draw up our conclusions.

The National Lottery

It is worth noting that the National Lottery nowadays is very different to the game that was played prior to October 2015. Before that date, the Lottery consisted of 49 numbers, but from October 2015, Camelot increased the number of selections to 59, which drastically reduced a player's chances of winning the lottery.

Furthermore, Camelot restructured how the lottery would pay out the money it collects each week, with a smaller jackpot prize each week available, but better value prizes for landing fewer numbers (landing three balls for example now wins you £20 post October 2015, when prior to that you would earn a £10 win).

The net result of this has been an increase in 'rollover' jackpots, when a draw is made and no single ticket matches six numbers. This has, on occasion, led to some sizeable jackpot prizes with the record rollover jackpot amount of £66,070,646 won on Saturday 9th January 2016. Indeed, all of the five highest jackpot amounts won on the lottery have come since the change in October 2015.

While this sounds positive, it does also mean that on more weeks, no players are winning the top prize and that is a real negative. Few people stump up their £2 entry for the National Lottery to pocket either a free ticket for the next draw, or a £20 prize.

Another statistic of note is that the smaller weekly jackpot prizes has resulted in several lower value jackpots being won. All of the five lowest jackpot prizes ever won in the National Lottery have occurred since 2015 (four have been won in 2018 alone with the other in late 2017).

This shows that Camelot's decision to lower the top jackpot prize has had an effect, but it is also perhaps more indicative of fewer players playing the National Lottery game nowadays, especially when compared to the early days of the lottery when the jackpot prize on offer each week would regularly be in excess of £10 million, even without a rollover beforehand.

This is perhaps not surprising with there being a greater number of lottery-type games now available for UK customers including the Euromillions draw (which tends to offer higher value prizes) as well as other lottery draws (such as the Healthcare Lottery) and surging interest in playing lottery games hosted in other countries (such as the Powerball lottery in the United States).

So while the lottery can still offer you a chance of riches beyond your dreams, there's no doubt that the appeal of these games has started to dwindle compared to the early days. In contrast to this, progressive slot games like Mega Moolah are growing in popularity and not just with slot gamers and casino enthusiasts. Let's take a look at why.

Mega Moolah

The Mega Moolah slot has been around for over ten years now and it has made millionaires in several countries across the globe. The slot, developed by Microgaming, has various console versions available with the original game being based on an African safari theme. Microgaming seed the slot with a minimum £1,000,000 prize pool each time the jackpot is triggered, ensuring that the jackpot prize is always at least this amount.

Every spin that is played on the Mega Moolah slot will increase the size of the jackpot prize (hence, progressive jackpot). The more spins played and the longer the time in between jackpot wins, then the greater the size that the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot can grow to.

It is actually wrong to say that the Mega Moolah slot has a progressive jackpot because the game actually has four. The Mini, Minor, Major and Mega progressive jackpots but it is the Mega jackpot that offers users the chance to win at least a million pounds and often much more.

The Mini and Minor jackpots tend to offer lower value prizes of tens or hundreds of pounds, but the Major jackpot when triggered can see players win hundreds of thousands on occasion. This is a similar pay out to the lottery for players that don't land all six balls but land a smaller number on a ticket.

One positive that the Mega Moolah slot has over the Lottery is the cost to play. One entry into the Lottery costs £2, but for a UK player on the Mega Moolah slot, they can win the jackpot for a spin costing just £0.25. This means for every lottery entry, you get eight chances to win the Mega Moolah jackpot when playing at £0.25 per spin.

Furthermore, there are several introductory offers available at Microgaming casinos that offer players the chance to play though 80, 100 or 150 spins on the Mega Moolah slot for a deposit of between £1 and £10.

Also, a slot game also has other prizes on offer rather than simply the progressive jackpot prize. It is possible to win up to 30,000 coins playing the Mega Moolah base game, as well as a number of other cash prizes ranging from very small amounts, to thousands of pounds.

However, what also cannot be underestimated is the fun-factor when it comes to slot gaming against lottery gaming. For the lottery, you pay your £2 entry and then receive your ticket and that is your level of involvement over. With the Mega Moolah slot, you are actively involved in every spin and can watch how the slot unfolds on each spin and adjust how you play as you go. You can increase your wager amount, or decrease it and of course, you will win more often on the Mega Moolah slot than the lottery as you will have many more spins on the game than you will draws in the lottery.

The final thing to consider too is the size of the jackpots for each game and there is now a greater congruence between the jackpots available on both. The National Lottery can see higher jackpot prizes if the jackpot rolls over for several weeks, but similarly, if Mega Moolah's progressive jackpot isn't won for a while, then this jackpot can also grow into large amounts, as it has at the time of writing when the jackpot is already £11.3 million and growing.

National Lottery participation may have declined over the years but still has a strong following in the UK, while playing progressive slot games has grown markedly in popularity. Both offer players a chance of a dream lifestyle if they get lucky, but for me, Mega Moolah is by far the most fun of the two to play to earn those potential rewards and that may well be key in explaining why the game continues to grow in popularity.

Where can you play Mega Moolah?

British residents can play at the Mega Moolah casinos, or choose one from the rewards program, which are all licenced by the UK Gambling Commission.

Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.

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