First and Foremost, I Have to Admit – I Envy the Europeans!
As an American, I envy the lottery players in Europe. You lot can play the lottery online. Not only can you play one lottery, but you can also play multiple lotteries from numerous countries! Americans can only participate in state-funded lotteries and two multi-jurisdictional games, the Powerball and Mega Millions. Sure, our prizes can get to be rather large if no one wins (the highest recorded Powerball was $590.5 million) but, other than that, we’re pretty limited.
I envy the Europeans because they have many different options when it comes to playing the lottery and they allow people from numerous countries, not just the hosting country, to participate. Why, you’ve got the UK National Lottery, the Thunderball, EuroMillions, and EuroJackpot. You also can choose SuperEnaLotto, German Lotto, and the French Loto—and that’s to name a few!
Which European Lottery Has the Best Odds of Winning Big?
With so many options, it would be tough to decide which one I would want to play—they all have their pros and cons. For instance, the UK National Lottery states, somewhat ambiguously, that if you do not physically live in the UK or Isle of Man, you cannot purchase tickets through their official site; however, you can buy tickets through official retailers. That sounds a little confusing… So you can play only if you purchase your tickets through an online provider as long as it isn’t the official lottery site. With that particular site, they hold drawings every Wednesday and Friday, but the odds of winning are roughly 1 in 13 million.
The UK Thunderball has better odds of winning. Not only do they have an extra drawing day (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday!) you also have better odds of winning; approximately 1 in 8 million. Granted, with Thunderball, you won’t be winning millions. This particular game has a consistent jackpot of £500,000. What this means is that you could potentially win £1.5 million in one week (if you have awesome luck of course!).
The EuroMillions is more complicated than the other two lottos mentioned. It holds drawing twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. It has two separate drums where players choose five numbers (1 to 50), and then they also choose “Lucky Stars (1 to 11). In order to win the Jack Pot, you have to match the five regular numbers and the two lucky stars. That’s seven numbers you have to match! The good thing about the game is that the jackpot continues to grow if no one wins. Well, that is until a particular point — the game caps at €190 million. While the prize may be incredible to win, the odds aren’t really in your favor. You have a 1 in 116 million chance to win. Yeah. That’s a lot!
Another lottery that is open to the majority of Europe is the EuroJackpot. This has a lower jackpot, but the odds of winning are a lot better than the EuroMillions. If you play the EuroJackpot, you have a 1 in 59 million chance to win. Oh, don’t get me wrong, that is still a big disadvantage, but you will be playing for €25 million. That’s nothing to sneeze at!
Now if we want to talk about staggering odds of winning, we’ve got to mention Italy’s lottery, the SuperEnaLotto. This particular lottery runs three days a week; Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This helps give you more chances to play, but as I mentioned before, your odds are pretty steep, even with the extra drawing days. If you play the SuperEnaLotto, you have a 1 in 662.61 million chance to win! Oh, let’s not forget you have to match 6 numbers (which is pretty standard). But have I mentioned you have to match 6 numbers from 1 and 90? No that wasn’t a typo; 9-0. Now you see why those odds are so high?
The German Lotto is probably one of the oldest lotteries running. This particular lottery has a much lower ball range; you have to match 6 numbers (1 to 49) and a Superzahl to win the jackpot. The odds of being able to do this is an estimated 1 in 140 million. That’s pretty high! But you do have the possibility to win €1.3 million to start, and it will increase by €1 million bi-weekly if there is no winner. Also, winners will receive the prize in one lump sum, rather than an annuity. That’s a plus, right?
The French Lotto runs 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday) and it is pretty basic. You choose from two sets of numbers, and to win the jackpot, you must match 5 primary numbers (1 to 49) and then 1 lucky number (1 to 10). Simple, right? Also to top that all off, there is always a minimum jackpot of €2.6 million and it will grow by €1 million every time there isn’t a winner. Now the odds to win the prize are about 1 in 19 million.
And the Winner is… TAH-DAH!
So… Which would I play? If I’m going simply by the chances of winning, I would have to say the UK Thunderball. There’s a 1 in 8 million chance to win, which is by far the lowest odds out of all these games, plus you have three chances to play in one week. Granted the prize money may not be nearly as high as these bigger lotteries, but… I’m not too concerned with winning millions. When converting the £500,000 to USD, I’d be quite content with $829,000 (of course, the amount of taxes that would have to be taken out would be devastating!).