People talk about winning the lottery as if it were just one game. But every state has a selection of lottery games with different odds of winning. Read the odds before you spend your money to ensure you're maximizing your chances of winning.
Remember that lottery games like Powerball and MegaMillions are national lotteries, so they have a much broader entry pool. State lotteries, where you have to be physically present to purchase a ticket, usually have better odds.
The easiest way to boost your odds of winning lotteries is simply to buy more tickets. But of course, that costs money, and even if you invest a lot of money in tickets, your odds of winning are still poor.
But lottery pools give you the opportunity to improve your odds without spending more money. Join your office lottery pool or start one of your own to get better chances of winning.
Imagine actually winning a big jackpot -- but missing out on your money because you forgot to double-check your numbers. It happens more often than you think. For example, take this article in the OC Register, where a MegaMillions lottery ticket worth nearly $300,000 went unclaimed. Don't let that happen to you.
When you buy a lottery ticket, keep it somewhere where you can find it again easily. Jot down the drawing date and time in your calendar if you're afraid you might forget it. Check the numbers against your ticket, and double-check them, just to be sure.
4. Multiply Your Chances of Winning the Lottery with Second-Chance Games
OK, so your numbers didn't come up in the drawing. That means it's time to toss your lottery ticket, right? Wrong!
On June 8, 2010, About.com Sweepstakes Forum member KentuckyBell reported a Big Lottery Win. But she didn't win because of the numbers she played when she bought the ticket, but because she entered the second-chance game in the Kentucky Lottery -- and her entry was picked as the winner. She took home $120,610.70 after taxes.
So don't give up just because you didn't win the first time. If your lottery game includes a second-chance drawing, entering could be your ticket to winning.
5. Someone Else's Loss Might Be Your Lottery Ticket Win
A lot of people throw out their lottery tickets after a drawing. If you find a discarded lottery ticket, it's worth taking the time to double-check their numbers. And if there's a second-chance drawing associated with the lottery game, you can use found tickets to enter.
6. Take Steps to Secure Winning Lottery Tickets
If you are lucky enough to win the lottery, the last thing you want to do is let the prize slip through your fingers thanks to a lottery scam.
To protect yourself, the very first thing you should do after you receive a lottery ticket, even before you know whether it's a winner or not, is to sign it. Your signature on the back of a lottery ticket can help prove it's yours, if your winning lottery ticket gets lost or stolen.
Also, never hand over a ticket to a clerk at a lottery location and ask if you've won. Use a computer terminal to determine if you're a winner, ask the clerk for the winning numbers and verify them yourself, or check online or in newspapers to find the winning numbers. It's all too easy for an unscrupulous clerk to pocket your ticket and tell you it was a loser.
If you intend to cash a lottery ticket by mail, make sure you make copies of both sides of the ticket, in case it gets lost in transit.
There are many scams that to capitalize on the yearning of regular people to win the lottery. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few tips to avoid lottery scams:
- Only buy tickets from authorized lottery retailers.
- It's not legal to sell lottery tickets across national borders.
- If you didn't buy a lottery ticket or participate in a second-chance lottery game, you didn't win.
- The lottery doesn't notify you when you win; you are responsible for checking your winning tickets.
- You're never required to pay money up-front to receive a winning lottery prize.