Both the lottery and casino games give you an opportunity to earn money. Both are fun to play, but they work very differently and give you very different chances of winning.
You are more likely to win at a casino than by playing the lottery. However, you have the chance to earn a lot more money with a lottery than you can at a casino. In addition, casinos have several disadvantages compared to lotteries. For example, you can lose all of your money quickly.
To find out whether you are better off playing the lottery or playing at a casino, continue reading.
How Much Can You Earn by Playing the Lottery?
First, let’s look at what you can earn by playing the lottery. Keep in mind that people have won these amounts in the past, but that doesn’t mean you will necessarily win such large amounts yourself.
The largest jackpot was in 2016. The 2016 Powerball had a winning prize of a whopping $1.586 billion.
However, this is not necessarily relevant to us because this jackpot was split between three different tickets. In other words, although it was the largest jackpot ever, it wasn’t the largest per-ticket jackpot. In fact, it was only the ninth-largest jackpot per ticket.
The largest single-ticket jackpot was the Mega Millions jackpot in 2018 when one woman won $1.537 billion. The woman remained anonymous, so we don’t know who the lucky winner was. However, we do know that she is from South Carolina.
The second-largest single-ticket jackpot, however, was almost half that amount. It was the 2019 Powerball, and it went for $768.4 million.
Although that’s a lot less than the 2018 Mega Millions jackpot, it still makes you a millionaire hundreds of times over. It was sold in New Berlin, Wisconsin, a small city of around 40,000 people. This shows you that you can win big and hit huge jackpots regardless of whether you live in a large city or a small town.
The third-largest single-ticket jackpot was the Powerball in 2017, which was worth $758.7 million.
All of this is in the United States, but in Europe, things are a little different. The EuroMillions jackpot has a maximum jackpot of €190 million, and that maximum was only won four times. The EuroJackpot lottery has a maximum of only €90 million, though it’s been paid out 11 times.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t get the entire amount that you win. First of all, you will owe taxes on your winnings; 25% of your prize will be withheld for the IRS. In addition, you may also owe more than that, depending on things such as whether you are a resident of the US or not. You will only owe taxes, however, on lottery winnings that are over $600.
In addition, many jackpots pay you out a certain amount annually. This means that your winnings are subject to inflation, which can affect the real cash value of your earnings. For example, the third-largest jackpot (the 2017 PowerBall) actually had a higher cash value than the second-largest jackpot (the 2019 PowerBall).
According to MarketWatch, in fact, if you win $444 million, you will only get $177 million when all is said and done. If the jackpot is split between a few tickets, you will get only a portion of that, so pay attention to how many tickets the jackpot is split between.
It is also important to remember that these jackpots are outliers. Indeed, they are the largest lottery jackpots ever; most lottery winnings won’t come near that amount. There are many lotteries that have jackpots of just $1,000, $100, $10, or even $1. That is why it is hard to say how much you can get from a lottery “on average.”
However, what can be said is that by playing the lottery, you have the chance — however small — of winning hundreds of millions of dollars.
How Much Can You Win by Playing Casino Games?
Now that you know how much you can win by playing the lottery, let’s take a look at the largest casino jackpots ever won. Again, this is just to give you an idea of what is possible, as most casino jackpots will be much smaller than these. In addition, some casino games have caps on how much you can win.
The largest jackpot ever won was a whopping $39.7 million in Las Vegas. The engineer who won it wagered $100 on Megabucks, and he was paid $1.5 million annually for 25 years.
There was actually a larger casino winning — someone from New York won $42.9 million. However, that was actually a malfunction, and unfortunately, the actual jackpot was $6,500.
As you can clearly see, the largest casino jackpot ever is only a fraction of the largest lottery jackpot. In addition, your casino winnings are subject to taxes just like lottery winnings are. And if you are getting paid in annual payments, like the winner of the largest casino jackpot is, your winnings will also be subject to inflation, meaning that the actual cash value of your winnings will be lower.
The Megabucks jackpot didn’t even reach $20 million until 1998!
What about online casinos? Online casinos have gained a lot of popularity lately, as they allow people to play casino games from home, without needing to spend days or going to Las Vegas or make an entire trip to New Jersey.
The largest online casino jackpot, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is only £13.2 million. Although that would still make you a millionaire, it is a far cry from how much you can earn by playing the lottery.
However, all of these numbers only tell a part of the story. When calculating how much money you will make by playing the lottery vs. playing casino games, it is important to take into account the likelihood of winning.
After all, a prize of £13.2 is more than enough for most people. Sure, you won’t be a billionaire, but you will still have millions of dollars. For most people, winning $100,000 or even $10,000 will change their lives.
If your chances of winning casino games are much higher than winning the Powerball, you might not care that the amount of cash you can get is lower. Let’s take a look at the odds of winning both the lottery and casino games.
What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?
There’s no denying it — the odds of winning large lotteries like the Powerball or Mega Millions are extremely low. While every lottery has different odds based on how many tickets are sold, let’s take a look at the Powerball as an example.
According to Investopedia, the odds of winning a recent Powerball in Tennessee was one out of 292.2 million. Think about it — the odds of being killed by lightning is one out of 2.32 million. Being killed by lightning is probably not a concern on your mind much of the time, because it’s just so unlikely that it doesn’t even occur to you that it can happen.
The interesting part is that buying tickets for different lotteries won’t increase the probability of you winning. This is due to something known as independent probability — this is because the two lotteries have no connection to each other. However, buying more than one ticket for the same lottery will increase your odds of winning.
To learn more about the odds of winning the lottery, watch this video:
You can also try our lottery odds calculator, that helps you compare the odds of winning different prize levels on various lottery games.
What Are Your Odds of Winning at a Casino?
Although the lottery gives you a very small chance of winning a huge prize, you are actually more likely to win casino games.
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have a very high chance of winning slot games. Although slot games can be very fun, you are not very likely to win. Casinos are private businesses, and they use their own algorithms to determine how often players can win. Of course, the less often people win, the more money the casino earns, so most casinos are not very generous and are usually not there to help you.
Since every casino is different, it is impossible to say what your exact odds of winning a casino game are. You might see the odds printed on the machine. However, according to The Balance, it is generally around one in 49,836,032. You are much more likely to get killed by lightning than win either casino slot games or the lottery, so they are not much different.
However, table games do provide a very high chance of winning. Let’s take a look at the probability you will win at various popular table games:
- Blackjack: You have around a 49% chance of winning a blackjack game.
- Craps: You have an almost 50/50 chance of winning.
- Roulette: You have an almost 50/50 chance of winning.
In addition, with table games, your skill can actually play a role, unlike slot machines. For example, although luck is a major part of Blackjack, skill does play a role as well. By honing your Blackjack skills, you will be more likely to win.
Let’s take Roulette as another example. You have almost a 50% chance of winning because there are three colors, not two. Although the numbers 1-36 are either black or red, there is also a green number (0). Therefore, by betting on either black or red, you have almost a 50 percent chance of winning, because there is still a small chance it might land on the green.
American roulette games, however, usually have an extra green number (00). This decreases your odds of winning a bit more.
There’s a reason why your odds of winning are a little less than 50% and not exactly 50/50. This is to give the casino a chance to make money. If players won exactly half of the time, they would not earn money.
At slot games, the odds are also stacked in their favor. For example, if there is a payback of 98%, this means that the casino pays out winnings equal to around 98% of the total money invested across all games, from all players. This gives them a 2% edge and allows them to make money.
In some games, experience plays a very large role. Experienced poker players, for example, know how to play their cards right and keep a “poker face” throughout the game.
Remember, however, that games like Roulette have a cap on how much you can earn. This depends on various things, but it is usually 35 to 1. The more you bet, the more money you can earn.
To sum it up: Your chances of winning table games in casinos are pretty high. However, remember that they are still less than 50%. This means that statistically, you are still likely to lose money and that luck still plays a big role in whether you will win or not.
Pros and Cons of Playing the Lottery
There are additional things to consider when deciding whether to play the lottery or casino games.
One advantage of playing the lottery is that you don’t have to travel anywhere. Depending on where you live, you may not have access to casinos nearby. Although casinos are legal under federal law, states and localities have their own restrictions on gambling. Many people have to drive or even fly in order to get to a casino. Even online casinos may be blocked where you are.
On the other hand, lotteries can be played anywhere. No matter where you are, you can pick up a lottery ticket and have a chance of winning hundreds of millions of dollars. You don’t have to spend extra money on a hotel or on a flight.
Lotteries also give you a chance to play over a longer period of time. For example, if you set aside $200 for playing the lottery, you can buy a $2 ticket for 100 days in a row. This allows you to have fun every day.
Another advantage of lotteries is that they aren’t really addictive. Even if you do have a casino next to where you live, you can lose all the money you set aside for gambling within a few hours. Once that happens, all the fun is gone, and you can’t play for a while. That’s why losing a lot of money through addiction is a much bigger problem at casinos than with the lottery.
The con of lotteries is that you don’t have a very big chance of winning. Your odds go up if you are playing a smaller lottery that sells fewer tickets, but it’s still not that much.
Pros and Cons of Casinos
One of the biggest advantages of playing at a casino is that you have a higher chance of winning. However, as we said, this only really applies to table games.
In addition, another advantage of playing at a casino is that many people find it more fun than playing the lottery. After all, you can make an entire trip out of it. You can fly out to Las Vegas for a few days or drive up to Atlantic City. The social interaction aspect is what many people love about casinos. Playing the lottery, on the other hand, doesn’t involve much social interaction; you’re simply scratching off a card on the way out of the 7-11.
However, as mentioned, casinos don’t give you the chance to earn as much money as lotteries do. In addition, a concern that many people have about casinos is that they might be rigged. After all, the casino owners lose money when someone wins a game, so it makes sense that they might try to make it harder for you to win. This is especially a concern with online casinos.
However, although an experienced dealer can rig a roulette game, the truth is that both offline and online casinos are NOT usually “rigged.” There are laws and regulations to prevent this. It’s not as much a concern as people make it out to be.
When it comes to how much money you can theoretically win, lotteries do allow you to win more. However, you are much more likely to win money if you stick to casino table games.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what you like best. If you enjoy the thrill of scratching off a card every morning on the way to work and wondering if you might win hundreds of millions of dollars, then stick to lottery tickets. If you want to win more often, however, and you enjoy going to the casino for the fun aspect of it, stick to casino games. Remember to learn some blackjack tricks and improve your skills to increase your chances of winning.