Does the Lottery Have Better Odds Than Slots?

There are two types of casino games — those based on luck and those that rely on the player’s skill. While the lottery and casino slots are entirely different games, they do have one thing in common — they are games of chance, and their outcomes are entirely random.

The lottery is unpredictable because you never know what the winning numbers are going to be. With slots, you can’t predict which spin will produce the winning combination of symbols. Both of these games are entertaining and exciting, especially to players who like to try their luck and hopefully win life-changing prizes along the way.

We’ve seen people hit the jackpot and go home with millions. But how do you know which game has better odds? Should you buy a lottery ticket or go straight to a casino? In this article, we’ll discuss both and see which is better. Stay tuned!    


Why Are People Drawn to Slots and Lottery?

Before we dive into the technicalities and odds, let’s talk about why people still buy lottery tickets and scratchcards or play progressive slots. It’s simple — we’re drawn to the idea of betting small amounts of money and potentially winning mind-blowing cash prizes that could change our lives. 

Everyone dreams of holding the winning lottery ticket in their arms or spinning the reels and hitting the jackpot. We’ve all thought about what we would do if we won a million dollars. 

Although it’s unlikely, this kind of thing can happen in games with massive prize pools, such as Mega Millions or Powerball — two of the most popular lottery games in the US.  The two biggest jackpots ever paid out in these games were just shy of $1.6 billion. This is an amount of money most people can’t wrap their heads around. 

However, the vast majority of players can only dream about landing such a life-changing prize, as the odds are astronomical.

Progressive slots can also grant players instant access to a luxurious lifestyle. While the numbers might not be quite as jaw-dropping, lucky players can go home with some pretty attractive prizes. The most popular progressive slot game is Megabucks, available in Nevada casinos. 

The biggest slot jackpot in history was won on a Megabucks slot machine, and it was worth $39.7 million. This game allows players to win handsome rewards on a bet of only $3. If you see three jackpot reels on a $3 spin, you could walk out of the Canadian online casinos with millions in your pockets.   

Odds of Hitting the Jackpot

Interstate lottery games such as Mega Millions and Powerball have a payout rate of around 50%, and most of the winners take home only small prizes. 

Powerball, a slight variation on the classic Lotto, requires players to select five numbers from 1 to 45 and then pick one Powerball number from the same series. 

As is the case with any other lottery, your odds of winning are correlated with the prize amount. In other words, the bigger the prize, the higher the odds. However, that doesn’t mean it will be easy to win a smaller prize. Your odds of winning $100 are 36,525:1. Not exactly encouraging, is it? 

Unfortunately, it gets worse. The odds of you getting four numbers right and winning $50,000 are 913,129:1. With each play costing at least $2, this doesn’t seem like such a great deal. But let’s put all that aside and say you did win the 50 grand. This would undoubtedly be a cause for celebration. 

However, people usually don’t consider taxes when they imagine spending lottery money. Add some unpaid bills or debts to the significant amount you’d have to pay in taxes, and you’re left with just a small portion of the winnings.

If we’re honest, no one plays Powerball without hoping to hit the jackpot. No one has ever set out to match just two or three numbers. We buy the tickets because there’s a chance we could end up with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Let’s cut to the chase — your chances of getting your hands on the Powerball jackpot are 292,201,338:1. If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around that number, let’s just say that your chances of getting struck by lightning are around 10,000,000:1, so about 30x better. We don’t mean to discourage you from trying — we’re merely giving you the numbers.

As far as Megabucks jackpots are concerned, we have some good news. Relative to Powerball, the odds of hitting the jackpot in this slot game are reasonable. Your chances of winning with slots are roughly 50,000,000:1, which is still astronomical, but it is also considerably better than the lottery odds. 

Of course, the prize amounts are also vastly different, with the latter offering much higher cash rewards. That said, the prize paid out by Megabucks is just as capable of turning your life upside-down.    


Your grandparents probably made you buy these when you were a kid. Scratch-off lottery tickets, or scratchcards, have been around for as long as we can remember. Nowadays, they can be bought at almost every gas station or convenience store in the US. The price of this instant-win card can be as low as $1.

We don’t know many people that have won big cash prizes with these tickets. Since you can buy them for just $1, you can’t hope for millions. With scratchcards, the reward depends on the ticket price — in some areas, they can cost as much as $50, bringing more generous prizes as a result. 

If you purchase a ticket for $1, the prize pool can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000. The bigger prizes are always reserved for pricier scratch-off tickets. In Texas, there is a game called $200 Million Cash Explosion. This is the $50-a-ticket game we mentioned earlier. It should also be noted that, for $100, you can buy a whole pack. $200 Million Cash Explosion offers handsome rewards, including eight prizes of $1,000,000, ten prizes of $50,000, and so on.

In this case, the odds of winning depend on several factors — how many tickets were manufactured, distributed, and bought.  

Slot Machines

Generally, land-based casinos are known for their variety of games, including a large selection of real-money slot machines. For instance, if you go to Vegas, any casino you walk into will have many slot games you can play. 

Nowadays, slot games come in various forms — standard spinning reels, classic fruit machines, and innovative video slots that feature more than 20 paylines and have top-notch graphics. Naturally, the payout rates will depend on the slot game that you choose to play.

As a general rule, the payout in all casino games will vary based on the amount of money you wagered. Of course, every game comes with its own set of rules and bet types, including slots. Since all slot games have an integrated RNG (random number generator), predicting when they will present a winning combination is impossible. 

Typically, slot machine bets start at $1, but you might be able to increase your bet to $5 if you wish to activate multipliers for your potential winnings. Moreover, slot machines allow you to select the number of paylines you’d like to use. Keep in mind that you will need to make a bigger wager if you want to bet on the maximum number of lines.

You might want to look at this list to find the most reputable online casino in Canada. It lists a number of online casinos with fairly low minimum deposit amounts – which gives you better ease of mind if you’re wanting to start out with little cash input.

When you’re playing slots in a casino, you want to choose a denomination that will prevent you from breaking the bank and allow you to play comfortably for hours on end. The minimum RTP (return to player) in slot machines is around 83%. However, in bigger casinos, like those on the Vegas Strip, you’ll rarely come across such low odds. 

Generally speaking, well-known casinos pay between 90% and 95% back to the players. So, if we look at the numbers, we can determine that slots have a significantly higher payout rate than the lottery. If you’re going for smaller accumulative wins, slots are your best bet. 

Moreover, hitting the jackpot on a casino slot machine is a memorable experience — no matter how often you win, the bright lights, ringing bells, and coins falling out of the machine never get old.    

Lottery vs. Slots — Which Is Better?

Even though the lottery might seem old-fashioned, US residents buy millions of Mega Millions and Powerball tickets every week. Despite having small chances of hitting the jackpot, people enjoy fantasizing about what they would do if they won millions on the lottery. 

While scratchcards are a safer bet if you’re looking for smaller winnings, life-changing payouts are not available unless you’re willing to spend the big bucks. However, if you’re concerned with the odds of winning, we would recommend playing slots. Like we mentioned, they have a higher payout rate compared to lotteries. 

The games’ RTP percentages are also a crucial factor here — the lottery has a house edge of 40%–60%, while with slots, the house edge is much lower, ranging from 2% to 15%. In the end, winning the lottery and taking home those millions is virtually impossible considering the odds. 

If you want to be entertained, playing slots is simply more enjoyable than picking numbers for your Powerball ticket.   

Final Thoughts

This article’s goal wasn’t to convince you to stop dreaming of winning millions or buying lottery tickets. We simply wanted to compare these two games of chance and show you that the odds of hitting the lottery jackpot are minimal, especially compared to slot machines.  

The truth is that both the lottery and slots can make you a millionaire in different ways. You might need more patience and time with slots, but it’s more likely you’ll succeed by playing in a casino than picking the correct numbers or buying the right scratchcard.

Of course, someone does win the lottery now and then, and it might as well be you. Nobody can predict the future. However, if you want to maximize your chances, stick to the slot reels.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.

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