Lottery betting involves choosing how many numbers you wish to select and then winning money if those numbers are all drawn.
A lottery player who buys a ticket and matches one ball out of six will probably not win a prize in most games, but a lottery bettor who selects just one number and matches it in the draw will get a substantial return on their investment. On the flipside, you do have to match all the numbers you selected, so if you picked five main numbers and matched four, you would win nothing.
Betfred, BoyleSports and William Hill are among the sportsbooks to offer lottery betting, providing a wide range of options to help punters decide which game they wish to bet on.
One of the most popular lotteries to bet on is Irish Lotto. Players who purchase regular tickets must select six numbers between 1 and 47, but bettors can decide to pick anywhere from one to five numbers. The most common bet is on a six-ball Irish Lotto game, which only relies on the main numbers drawn, not the Bonus Ball. The odds are fixed as long as the matrix stays the same, and the table below shows an example of the sort of payout you could expect based on a £1 stake.
|Number of Balls Selected||Odds||Payout (based on £1 stake)|
Anyone playing the actual Irish Lotto would not win a prize for matching one or two numbers, but by betting on the game it is possible to win £7 from just a £1 stake. As you have to match all the numbers selected, though, it becomes increasingly hard to earn money as you select more numbers.
While the sportsbooks are happy to offer potentially large payouts, their odds still ensure they will make money in the long-term. The reward for selecting and matching one number is seven times your stake, for instance, but the chances of achieving this are actually 1 in 7.83.
There are various other alternatives to Irish Lotto for punters who decide they would like to bet on a lottery. Daily Million, another Irish game, is played twice every day and there are only 39 balls to choose from, so the odds of winning are better.
Some sportsbooks will also offer other special lottery betting markets. Bet365, for instance, takes bets on whether the first ball drawn in Irish Lotto will be odd or even, what the total value of all six balls (excluding the bonus) will be, what number the Bonus Ball will be and longer prices on all the numbers being either higher or lower than the middle point in the number range.
Gwyneth Williams, a grandmother from Porthmadog, won £57,000 in December 2015 after placing an £8 bet on the Irish Lotto results. She came forward just hours before the deadline for the prize to be claimed and revealed she had previously won £650 on lottery bets on two separate occasions. In November 2014, a lucky punter from Meath in Ireland successfully matched four numbers whilst betting on EuroMillions at Boylesports. Having put down just €0.50 at odds of 33,000/1, the customer became €16,500.50 richer.