Boost your odds of winning big in the lottery

Updated on 19 June 2024

As new research reveals the most (and least) lucky regions for creating lottery millionaires, we look at some tricks that could help boost your winnings.

The luckiest lottery regions

The Lotto makes an average of two people in the UK millionaires every week, according to its own figures.

But did you know that some regions appear to be luckier than others?

In fact, those living in Wales are more likely to win a life-changing sum than people anywhere else in the UK.

According to new research published in Daily Express, 389 people in Wales became millionaires thanks to lottery wins between November 1994 and March 2023, which equates to 125 per one million residents.

Within England, it appears that those in the North are more likely to win big than their Southern counterparts.

Some 320 people in the North East won a million pounds or more between 1994 and 2023, which equates to 121 per one million inhabitants.

Likewise, there were 110 lottery millionaires per one million people in the North West and 116 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

In terms of pure numbers, the South East has had the most lottery millionaires, with 975 winning the life-changing sum or more.

However, the larger population of the South East actually means it has had fewer winners per million people.

At the other end of the scale, people in the Midlands have had the least luck when picking the balls.

The area has had 86 millionaires per one million residents, which is the lowest of any region.

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Avoid the birthday blunder

One thing nobody can do for you is pick winning numbers.

After all, Lotto draws are entirely random, so all combinations of six numbers have an equal chance of winning.

In other words, the winning numbers are just as likely to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 as they are to be 29, 31, 37, 41, 43 and 47*.

However, a large proportion of Lottery players enter the same ‘special' numbers into each draw. Instead of using the Lucky Dip feature to pick random numbers, many regulars use family birthdays.

In other words, all of their numbers are under 32, because they correspond to days of the month.

When picking your own numbers, throw in a few numbers above 31. Although this won't increase your chances of winning, it will mean that you win larger prizes when more than three of your numbers come up.

The idea here is to boost your returns from the larger prizes – payouts for picking four, five, five plus bonus, and six numbers.

Note, that picking three numbers wins you £30 – although it’s better than nothing, it’s hardly a life-changing sum.

The only time in which you might win more by picking three numbers is a Must-Be-Won draw. In these draws, those who have picked two or more numbers will share in the jackpot if there isn’t a big winner.

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Play rollover draws

Sounds obvious, but you'll win more when the jackpot's a rollover. What's more, the windfall will be boosted by millions of people buying extra tickets simply because it is a rollover draw.

To date, the biggest win in the UK remains handyman David Martin and his wife Carol who split a £66 million rollover jackpot with another anonymous winner in 2016.

The couple told the media that they left the ticket on the mantlepiece while they ate bacon and black pudding rolls until friends reminded them to check it.

As they didn’t own champagne flutes, they celebrated their win by drinking tea.

Play EuroMillions Super draws

­If you want to win as big as possible, it’s a good idea to take part in EuroMillions Superdraws.

As ‘special events’, these take place throughout the year and have a guaranteed nine-figure payout. Unlike other draws, the prize isn’t dependent on ticket sales or previous draw results.

If the top prize isn’t won on the night, it will continue to roll over until someone matches all the main numbers, plus the two Lucky Stars (or reaches its jackpot cap of €250 million).

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Join a syndicate

As the National Lottery itself admits, joining a syndicate is a great way of increasing your chances of winning.

It stands to reason that you’ll have a greater chance of winning when you play more numbers.

Some people form syndicates with colleagues, while others play with friends and family members.

As a word of caution, it’s a good idea to set up an agreement with other members of a syndicate when you start playing as a group.

For instance, you may want to agree who will manage the syndicate, how payments will be made and what would happen if a member falls behind on their payments.

Don’t be taken in by myths

Nothing attracts superstition like picking the lottery numbers.

We all have our system and many of us are convinced that certain rituals are key to success.

As part of a recent investigation, Money Mail looked into the truth behind some of these commonly held beliefs.

In most cases, the data – based on testimony from lottery experts – revealed there isn’t any validity in the myths.

Sadly, the findings revealed that picking unusual numbers or buying your tickets from a shop (rather than online) will do nothing to boost your odds.

As the research explains, every draw is an independent event when it comes to statistics. This means that the results of previous draws have no bearing on the numbers that are likely to come up in the future.

However, Money Mail did cite a pretty unbelievable occurrence. Back in 2009, the exact same numbers – 4, 15, 23, 24, 35 and 42 – were drawn on two consecutive weeks in the Bulgarian lottery

Despite this seemingly incredible event having odds of more than one in four million, an official investigation revealed it was nothing more than a fluke.

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Play other types of lotteries

For those old enough to remember the early draws on the mid-1990s, we tend to think of Noel Edmonds and Mystic Meg.

However, it’s important to remember that Lotto isn’t the only game in town.

As one of the most popular alternatives, the People’s Postcode Lottery offers the residents of one street the chance to share in a million pounds every Saturday.

At the time of writing, upcoming prizes include £18.2 million in July 2024.

Alternatively, you might want to consider taking part in a lottery for a good cause as many charities now run their own prize draws.

While the sums involved tend to be much lower, these games have the added bonus of helping out a worthy cause.

Otherwise, you could consider a lottery-style savings product. Although Premium Bonds are the best-known example, many banks also offer similar prize-draw style accounts.

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Understand the odds

Finally, we should reiterate that none of these techniques will increase your chances of winning.

Indeed, there is no way to increase your chances of winning, other than buying more tickets.

To win the jackpot on the Lotto, you’ll need to match six numbers, which has odds on one in 45,057,474.

Matching five numbers and the Bonus Ball has slightly better (although still far from stellar) odds of one in 7,509,579.

At the lower end of the prize scale, odds of matching three numbers stand at a not inconceivable one in 97.

Even more likely, you’ll have a one in 10.3 chance of matching two numbers and bagging a free lucky dip for the next draw.

What the above tricks might do is to increase the size of your winnings in the (unlikely) event that you win one of the higher-ranking prizes. Frankly, for the best returns, you're best off not playing gambling at all.

Say you played one line on both the Wednesday and Saturday Lotto draws at £2 per play. Over the course of a year, this would add up to £208.

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