Lottery Jackpots Overview
Everyone dreams of that big lottery win because it is a life-changer. Lottery players don’t consider themselves gamblers and rarely consider the odds. It is easy to play and easier to dream about so nearly everyone gets into it. The huge jackpots are the ones that everyone dreams off so let’s take a closer look at what is out there.
Lottery Jackpot Basics
A lottery jackpot win can change your life forever, whether it is worth a few hundred thousand pounds or a few million. How large a jackpot can grow depends on the country and rules, but some grow to truly massive amounts.
You buy your ticket and go into the draw. There is usually a limit to the number of tickets you can buy and most of the public are happy enough to have one ticket. The pot is created from the tickets purchased by the public. Approximately 50% of each £1 ticket sold is put into the prize pot and it is not long before jackpots hit 7 figures.
When a player matches six numbers, we have a winner. If a few players choose the same winning numbers, the jackpot is split equally between them. If nobody wins the jackpot in a given week, then the jackpot is "rolled over" to the next week. Months can go by without a winner and each rolling jackpot increases the pot until it hits huge figures.
The Expectation Equation
Although the chances of hitting a lottery jackpot are very slim, this doesn’t stop people dreaming or playing! Players also have several chances to win smaller amounts, so it is not all about just one result. 4 or 5 matched numbers can payout large sums. For example, in the UK Lotto, the prize pool is split across several prize levels in the percentages set out below:
- Match 6 (Jackpot) = 66.4%
- Match 5 + Bonus = 5.3%
- Match 5 = 4.5%
- Match 4 = 23.8%
- Match 3 = £25
The jackpot is always the one you want but it is nice to know that you’re in the mix to win a few things each time you buy a ticket.
The World's Largest Lottery Jackpots
These days you have options- play your local lottery online or in-store, or you can look further afield. Now we have online lottery concierge services like GiantLottos or TheLotter, which help you take part in lotteries from around the world. Below are some of the top lotteries to consider:
The US Mega Millions Lottery
Available in 46 US localities, the Mega Millions was formed in 1996 and, today, a single ticket costs $1 and the minimum advertised jackpot is $15 million. Jackpots are paid out in annual instalments or a single lump sum. Mega Millions draws take place at 11:00pm Eastern Time on Tuesday and Friday evenings.
The UK Lotto
The UK Lotto is state-run and has been around since 1994. Since then, the format has changed to include 10 extra numbers and an increased ticket price of £2 (up from £1). Now called Lotto, the draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday.
EuroMillions is a transnational lottery requiring 7 correct numbers to win the jackpot. It was launched on 7 February 2004. Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday. A standard EuroMillions ticket costs €2.50 per line played, depending on the local currency. All prizes, including the jackpot, are tax-free (except in Switzerland, Spain and Portugal since 2013) and are paid as a lump sum. With so many European nations involved, the jackpot is always very big!
Biggest Lottery Jackpot Winners
Although the odds of scooping a lottery jackpot are very slim, the lucky winners below managed to score some of the biggest prizes of all time:
- The largest lottery win in the USA came on Wednesday 13th January 2016, when three Powerball ticket holders – one from California, one from Florida and one from Tennessee – shared a top prize worth US$1.58 billion.
- Christine and Colin Weir of Largs, Ayrshire, won the biggest prize in UK history when they landed the EuroMillions jackpot following a run of 14 rollovers in the summer of 2011- the jackpot was £161.6 million.
- The second-largest EuroMillions prize won by a UK ticket holder was claimed by Adrian and Gillian Bayford from Suffolk on 10th August 2012. The amount was £148.6 million.