What is the best lottery to play?

Wondering what the best lottery to play is? With so many options to choose from nowadays thanks to the many online lottery sites that provide access to dozens of games from around the world, it can be hard to know what makes one lottery better than another. Luckily, we've carefully researched the most popular, fairest, and cheapest games that exist so that you don't have to! We've looked at each lottery jackpot, odds of winning the lottery, ticket prices, how easy the game mechanics are to grasp, whether the game has any caps on its jackpots or rollovers, whether winnings are taxed, and what unique features it has. Ultimately, we look at the value and fun that each game offers and give our verdict on whether we think it's worth playing overall. And on that note, we wish you the best of luck!

  • US Powerball Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 292,201,334

    US Powerball's incredibly huge jackpots are well known all around the world. This titan of a lottery holds the world record for the biggest jackpot ever and though its odds are proportionally tough, it features a fun double-matrix 1/69 + 1/26 format, some excellent secondary prizes, and exciting extras like the Powerball multiplier that make it one of the best lotteries to play online.

  • Mega Millions Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 302,575,350

    Mega Millions is an absolute monster of a lottery, and we mean that as a compliment. A double-matrix game with incredibly large jackpots and very tough odds, the bi-weekly Mega Millions is the kind of lottery that could only exist in the US. Fun extras like the Megaplier make this game even more lucrative.

  • EuroJackpot Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 95,344,200

    EuroJackpot is one of the best lotteries to play throughout Europe and beyond. Featuring a double-matrix format, jackpots that can climb to €90 million12 prize tiers, and pretty decent odds for a lottery of this size, EuroJackpot is pretty fantastic overall. In a nutshell, if you haven't played EuroJackpot yet, you're missing out.

  • SuperEnalotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 622,614,630

    SuperEnalotto is not just Italy's most popular lottery but also one of the biggest lotteries on the planet. While its odds are famously tough, this lotto's jackpots are often jaw-dropping because it has no jackpot or rollover limits. In addition, it features up to 14 prize tiers.

  • Canada Lotto 6/49 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Canada Lotto 6/49 is arguably the best lottery to play in Canada. But because of its often huge jackpots and the fact that its odds of winning are quite good, we believe it's actually one of the world's best lotteries. Very few games offer such a good mix of elements at such a reasonable price.

  • Canada Lotto Max Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 28,633,528

    Canada Lotto Max is one of Canada's biggest and best lotteries. With solid oddsno rollover limit, and a very reasonable $60 million jackpot cap, this is a lottery that would be worth playing even if the MaxMillions raffle prizes weren't part of every draw. And with the MaxMillions, playing Lotto Max is practically a must.

  • EuroMillions Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 139,838,160

    EuroMillions is one of the most famous transnational lotteries and an excellent online lottery. Comprising 9 member states, EuroMillions' jackpots can grow as high as €190 million—and they are usually tax-free at the source! What's more, its 12 secondary prize tiers help soften the blow in case you don't end up winning the jackpot.

  • Polish Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Polish Lotto is a straightforward single-matrix lottery that offers a lot to both Polish and international lottery players, especially considering how cheap it is to play. Though it has only 4 prize tiers, Polish Lotto has no caps on rollovers or jackpots, so its jackpots can reach some very pleasing heights.

  • UK Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 45,057,474

    UK Lotto, is the UK National Lottery company's premiere game, and for good reason. It has a simple 6/59 format, a total of 6 prize tiers, pretty decent odds, no taxes on winnings, and jackpots that have reached some truly amazing levels throughout its rich history. Not only that, but it also draws twice per week.

  • France Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 19,068,840

    France Lotto's limitless jackpots start at €2 million and climb higher and higher from there, as they can roll over a generous 34 times before rolling down to the secondary prize tier. With 10 prize tiers and pretty good odds, France Lotto is just as tasty as a fresh French baguette. Plus France doesn't tax lottery winnings, meaning you'll take home every last coin that you win.

  • Swedish Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 337,915,578

    Swedish Lotto is a double-matrix lottery game that's easy to play but tough to win—at least when its Drömvinsten "Dream Win" super jackpot is considered. Luckily, its regular jackpot odds are excellent, and the fact that it's a tax-free lotto with no jackpot or rollover limits is the cherry on top.

  • Austria Lotto 6 aus 45 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,415,060

    Austria Lotto, also known as Lotto 6 aus 45, is Austria's biggest lottery game. In addition to being an international lotto with 8 prize tiers and respectable jackpots that would set up most people for life, Austria Lotto also has some of the best jackpot odds in the industry. On top of that, there are no limits on rollovers or jackpot amounts, and no taxes at the source either.

  • Swiss Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 31,474,716

    There's no denying that Swiss Lotto's jackpots can be excellent, especially since this is a rollover lottery with no limits. What's more, the odds of winning are decent, and the 7 additional prize tiers means a secondary prize is always within reach. Finally, the rePLAY feature and optional Joker jackpots provide even more reasons to play.

  • Polish Mini Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 850,668

    Polish Mini Lotto might be Polish Lotto's little brother, but it's grown up to be quite a force to reckon with. Although its small jackpots can't compete with those of the world's biggest lotteries, this is definitely a lottery worth playing because of its incredible odds, cheap ticket prices, and the fact that draws occur every single day of the week! As a result, it's one of our favourite online lotteries.

  • Viking Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 98,172,096

    Viking Lotto used to be enjoyed only by Scandinavians, but nowadays it's got fans all over the world. And why shouldn't it be? Its jackpots start at €3 million and can grow up to €35 million, its odds aren't half-bad, it has up to 8 prize tiers (depending which version of the game you're playing), and its taxes can be as low as 0%. That's a lot of reasons to play!

  • German Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 139,838,160

    German Lotto 6 aus 49 uses the traditional 6/49 format in addition to a secondary drum for the "Superzahl" super number to give players the chance to win jackpots worth dozens of millions of euros. While its odds are certainly challenging, its 8 prize tiers, tax-free winnings, and twice-weekly draws make up for them.

  • Ukraine Megalot Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 52,457,860

    Ukraine's Megalot lottery on the surface seems like a great lottery. After all, it's a very inexpensive and easy game to learn that has 8 prize tiers and no cap on either rollovers or jackpots. However, when you dig a bit deeper and see its disappointing jackpots, especially given its very tough odds and 16.5% tax, you start wondering if there's any point to playing this game outside of Ukraine.

  • Spain La Primitiva

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 139,838,160

    Spain's La Primitiva, one of Spain's top lotteries, has a minimum jackpot of €3 million and 7 prize tiers to keep players coming back for more. In addition, its cap-free rollovers and jackpots mean its grand prizes can reach amazing levels, which makes up for how tough the odds of actually doing so can be.

  • Hungary Hatoslotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,145,060

    Hungary's Hatoslotto is a fantastic game with very respectable jackpots, and the odds of winning this lottery are some of the best in the entire global lottery industry. With rollovers that can continue for up to a year, tax-free winnings, and cheap tickets on top of that of all that, Hatoslotto is well worth checking out.

  • Spain Bonoloto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Spain's Bonoloto is one of the country's top lotteries because it offers nice jackpots, fairly good odds, and no limits on jackpots or rollovers. Moreover, its minimum guaranteed jackpot is €400,000, and its Complementario and Reintegro numbers add a bit of spice to what is otherwise a traditional 6/49 lottery format.

  • Italy Lottomatica Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 43,949,268

    Italy Lottomatica is a unique tri-weekly lottery game whose numbers are drawn using wheels rather than drums. As a result of this and its game mechanics, it's much more of a bettor's game than a conventional lottery, and that arguably makes it a funner and more engaging game overall. However, at its core it uses a 5/90 matrix and offers players decent jackpots at pretty tough odds.

  • South Africa Powerball Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 24,435,180

    South Africa Powerball is the most popular lottery in South Africa for a reason: its prizes are the highest, its odds are among the best, and it has no caps on its either its jackpots or rollovers. In addition, it draws twice per week, and it offers a practically irresistible additional draw called Powerball Plus.

  • South Africa Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 20,358,520

    South Africa Lotto is one of South Africa's premier lotteries and offers decent odds and jackpots at an almost unbeatable price point. It also features a straightforward single-matrix format, a total of 8 prize tiers, and the awesome Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2 supplementary games that give you even more chances to win.

  • Brazil Mega Sena Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 50,063,860

    Brazil Mega Sena is the Carnival of lotteries: it offers players unique gameplay, great jackpots, decent odds, no limits on either rollovers or jackpots, and an amazing special NYE draw called Mega da Virada that will excite even the most seasoned lottery players. With two weekly draws, Mega Sena is a party that just keeps going.

  • Brazil Dupla Sena Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 15,890,700

    Brazil Dupla Sena is one of Brazil's top lotteries, and it's easy to see why. With good odds, a unique dual-draw format that doubles players' chances of winnings, respectable jackpots, and draws that take place three times each week, it offers plenty of features to entice new players and keep previous players coming back for more.

  • Brazil Quina Logo Square

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 24,040,016

    Brazil Quina is a popular Brazilian lottery that's been making people richer and happier since 1994. Although its odds and prizes are only decent, the fact that the ticket price is cheap and its draws are held six times per week makes up for it. Another plus is you can buy up to 2 extra balls to boost your chances of winning, and the annual Quina de Sao Joao Super Draw is the icing on the cake.

  • UK Thunderball Logo Square

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,060,598

    UK Thunderball might not be the most lucrative lottery, but its jackpots are guaranteed and never have to be shared with anyone, no matter how many winners there are. On top of that, it offers some of the best odds in the industry, 4 weekly draws, 9 prize tiers, and tax-free prizes at the source. In addition, its double-matrix format is one that will be instantly familiar to those who play the world's biggest lottos.

  • Australia Powerball Square Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 134,490,400

    Australia Powerball is Australia's largest lottery, offering a double-matrix format, massive jackpots, 9 prize tiers, and much better odds than the American version of the game. In addition, the prizes are tax-free at the source, and the jackpot increases by millions of dollars every rollover.

  • Oz Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 45,379,620

    Oz Lotto, one of Australia's biggest and best lotteries, has broken records with its massive jackpots. With 7 tax-free prize tiers and decent odds for a lottery of this size and stature, Oz Lotto is an exciting bi-weekly lottery that is worth checking out regardless if you're physically in Australia or just curious about playing it online. After all, it turns hundreds of people into millionaires every year!

  • Australia Saturday Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,145,060

    Australia Saturday Lotto, aka Saturday TattsLotto, offers solid regular jackpots, and the occasional Megadraws and Superdraws take the excitement to a whole other level. Plus, the fact that the game features some of the best odds in the world and tax-free prizes makes it one that you definitely shouldn't overlook.

  • Australia Monday Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,145,060

    Australia Monday Lotto is a fairly unique lottery that turns as many as 4 people into millionaires every single week. Featuring great odds and decent prizes that are tax-free at the source, Monday Lotto also offers the same great gameplay options common to most other Australian lotteries, including System Entries and Super Combos, that are sure to brighten up anyone's Monday.

  • New Zealand Powerball Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 38,383,800

    New Zealand Powerball is a biweekly supplementary game to the NZ Lotto that offers excellent jackpot prizes and fairly good odds. With seven prize tiers, no cap on rollovers or taxes on winnings, and red-hot "Must Be Won" draws, New Zealand Powerball is the premier lottery among Kiwis for good reason.

  • Ontario 49 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Ontario 49 ranks among Canada's biggest lotteries, and its reputation for solid prizes and great odds at a very affordable entry price has attracted a following around the world. A straightforward single-matrix game that offers 7 prize tiers and a 1 in 6.6 overall chance of winning a prize, Ontario 49 is a fairly well balanced bi-weekly lottery that packs a lot of excitement.

  • Colombia Balotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 15,401,568

    If you haven't heard of Colombia Balotto before, then it's probably time you should. In addition to great prizes and jackpot odds, this bi-weekly national lottery offers 9 prize tiers, a fun supplementary draw called the Revancha that gives your numbers a second chance to win, and cheap entry tickets. What more can you ask for in a lottery game?

  • Chile Clasico Loto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 4,496,388

    Chile Clasico Loto serves up a serious combo of goodies and features that will excite lottery newbies and veterans alike. With excellent odds, very nice prizes, 8 prize tiers, and 3 weekly draws, there's a lot to like about Clasico Loto and very little not to.

  • Hong Kong Mark Six Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Hong Kong Mark Six hits the mark with straightforward game mechanics, solid odds, great jackpots, and three weekly draws that keep the excitement flowing. A game of chance so popular that it's basically a part of daily life among the majority of Hong Kong's citizens, there's quite a bit to like about this game regardless if you're playing it locally or online from abroad.

  • Italy MillionDAY Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 3,478,761

    Despite being one of the newest games on the international lottery scene, Italy MillionDAY offers so much value and such incredibly generous odds that it's already among our favourite lottos ever. Considering the jackpot prize is a fixed €1 million, we can't stress enough what an excellent lottery this is. If you haven't played it yet, you're truly missing out on one of the fairest and funnest lottery experiences on the planet.

  • Hungary Otoslotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 43,949,268

    Hungary Otoslotto, one of Hungary's biggest and most popular lotteries, offers solid jackpots and 4 prize tiers in a super simple game format. With jackpots that roll over and can grow exponentially for up to a year and prizes that are never taxed at the source, Otoslotto packs a lot of excitement into an inexpensive lotto experience.

  • Japan Loto 6 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 6,096,454

    Between its excellent odds, highly respectable jackpots, and five prize tiers, Japan Loto 6 is an awesome bi-weekly lottery from the "land of the rising sun" that will draw you in and possibly never let you go. With maximum jackpots that are won quite often, no rollover caps, and tax-free prizes, Loto 6 is a game well worth trying.

  • Japan Loto 7 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 10,295,472

    Japan Loto 7 has solid jackpots and odds, six prize tiers, and a simple game format that allows anyone to jump on board and play pretty much instantly. With jackpot winners emerging almost every month, this weekly Japanese lottery offers many positives, including tax-free prizes and no caps on rollovers, and very few negatives.

  • Mexico Melate Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 32,468,436

    Mexico Melate is Mexico's oldest lottery, and it's still running strong more than three decades later. In addition to offering often-incredible jackpots and a total of nine prize tiers, Melate also lets players replay their numbers through two supplementary draws, the Revancha and the Revanchita. As a result, there is a lot about this game that might make you shout "arriba" out of joy.

  • Mexico Melate Retro Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 3,262,623

    Mexico Melate Retro, named what it is because it's a throwback to the format of the original Melate lottery, offers excellent odds, solid prizes, and an impressive seven prize tiers. With two draws per week and cheap tickets as well, this game offers a whole lot of reasons to play.

  • Peru Tinka Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 8,145,060

    Peru Tinka, the biggest and most popular lottery game in Peru, has been turning regular folks into millionaires since 1994. Its straightforward 6/45 format offers great odds, and its jackpots often roll over until they reach some pretty impressive levels. On top of that, Tinka's eight prize tiers mean it's fairly easy to win something.

  • Irish Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 10,737,573

    Irish Lotto is Ireland's biggest and most popular lottery, and it's really no surprise why. Featuring solid odds, great prizes (split among eight prize tiers), three additional chances to win via the Lotto Plus 1 and 2 draws and the Raffle Draw, and plenty more, Irish Lotto offers a lot of value at an affordable price.

  • Romania Lotto 6/49 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    Romania Loto 6/49 offers great prizes and good odds all at a very affordable price point. Though it's not the perfect lottery due to its somewhat heavy tax on jackpot wins and limited number of prize tiers, it's a fun game to play if you're looking for something simple without much fuss.

  • India Saturday Super Lotto Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 13,983,816

    India Saturday Super Lotto is now India's biggest lottery game, and it offers decent odds and prizes (distributed via four prize tiers), super cheap tickets, extremely straightforward mechanics, and a single exciting draw per week. If you like your lottery games with a bit of spice, this one might just be exactly what you've been craving.

  • Latvia Latloto 5/35 Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 3,246,320

    Latvia Latloto 5/35 seems like a lottery with a lot of potential, as it offers good odds, uncapped jackpots, and cheap ticket prices. Unfortunately, all of this is overshadowed by several serious pitfalls that are hard to overlook in this age of excellent and easily accessible international lotteries.

  • Brazil Lotofacil Logo

    $123,098,890,089

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    Odds

    1 in 3,268,760

    Brazil Lotofacil serves up a lot of thrills through a 15/25 format that stands out from every other lottery on the planet. Featuring solid odds and prizes, three weekly draws, an annual super draw, five prize tiers, and affordable ticket prices, this is one lottery game you definitely shouldn't miss out on.


How We Rank Lotteries

Deciding what the best lottery to play isn’t easy, as there are quite a few factors to consider. Although some of these factors are objective, like the odds of winning the lottery and the price for an entry ticket, others are subjective, like how important a straightforward game format and really big lotto jackpots are to you. Therefore, in this section we’ll go over all the factors that we considered when compiling our reviews of the most popular lotteries in the world. This will help you better understand our lottery reviews and also know what to look for when considering what international lottery you should try playing online next.

Format

While the specific formats of different lotteries can vary slightly or greatly depending on the game, most lottery games fall into one of two types of formats: single matrix or double matrix.

A single-matrix game means that just one set of numbers is drawn from one drum. For example, in the popular 6/49 format, which many of the world’s best lotteries use, players must choose 6 numbers from a range of 49. If the 6 numbers that you choose match the 6 that are drawn, you would usually win the jackpot prize. Some famous lotteries that use this format are Canada Lotto 6/49, Polish Lotto, and Spain Bonoloto.

A double-matrix game, on the other hand, uses two drums and two sets of numbers. The first drum is usually the primary one because it has a larger range of numbers (45, 48, 49, 90, etc.), so the main group of numbers that players must choose would come from this range. The second set usually involves picking just 1 but sometimes 2 numbers from a much smaller range (usually less than 10 but can be as many as 26).

Popular lotteries that use the double-matrix format include US Powerball, Mega Millions, France Lotto, and Swiss Lotto. Taking US Powerball as an example, its format would usually be written like this: 5/69 + 1/26. This means players must correctly match 5 numbers from a range of 69 in the first set and 1 from a range of 26 in the second set.

There are other games, such as Italy Lottomatica, that use different formats, but they are quite rare and not worth mentioning here. In the end, what type of format you prefer is up to you, but generally double-matrix games have tougher odds and therefore bigger jackpots. However, this isn’t always the case, so finding a game with simple mechanics and great jackpot prizes is always a treat.

# of Prize Tiers

Prize tiers refer to the prize levels that exist for any given lottery and include everything from the top jackpot all the way down to the smallest secondary prize. The bigger and tougher a lottery is, the more prize tiers it usually has. This makes sense because if the odds of winning a jackpot are super tough, then the least the lottery can do is give you a fighting chance at scoring a smaller prize.

Some lotteries that have a generous amount of prize tiers include EuroMillions (13), EuroJackpot (12), France Lotto (10), US Powerball (9), and Mega Millions (9). On the flipside, lottery games with few prize tiers include Polish Mini Lotto (3), Hungary Hatoslottó (4), Polish Lotto (4), and UK Lotto (5).

Jackpot Odds

Odds refer to your chances of winning the lottery, and they are definitely something worth looking at when considering which lotteries are worth your time and money. The toughest lottery odds in the world are those of Italy’s SuperEnaLotto, and they come in at a mind-boggling 1 in 622,614,630. The second toughest lottery is Mega Millions, with odds of 1 in 302,575,350, and third is US Powerball (whose odds are 1 in 292,201,338).

To put that into perspective, the likelihood of you being hit and killed by an asteroid are 1 in 74,817,414, while the odds of you getting bitten by a shark are 1 in 8 million. And, in case you’re wondering, the odds of you being struck by lightning at some point in your life are 1 in 12,000.

While knowing this might make you want to all but give up on ever winning the jackpot, never underestimate the power of Lady Luck. After all, the majority of the biggest jackpot winners never expected they would win the incredible windfalls that they did, and that’s why their first reaction is usually complete and utter disbelief. These people were just lucky—that’s all it really boils down to.

Although there is no such thing as an “easy” lottery—if there was, too many people would win and it wouldn’t be profitable for the operator—some offer much better odds than others. The Polish Mini Lotto, for example, has odds of 1 in 850,668, while Hungary Hatoslotto's chances are 1 in 8,145,060. Of course, a lot of the time the jackpots will be proportionally smaller as the odds get better, but that’s not always the case. There are some lotteries, such as Ukraine Megalot, that have unimpressive jackpots AND very tough odds, which is why Megalot is probably our least favourite lottery in the world. Meanwhile, lotteries such as Canada Lotto 6/49 (1 in 13,983,816) and Austria Lotto (1 in 8,415,060) offer relatively great odds and often incredible jackpots as well.

Jackpot Size

All other factors aside, let’s face it: the size of the jackpot is the main thing that convinces people to play the lottery. That’s why whenever a big jackpot is announced, it makes national and even international headlines that make people flock in droves to their nearest lottery kiosk or favourite online lottery site. This phenomenon happens several times a year, and it’s exactly what happened in October 2018 when both Mega Millions and US Powerball’s jackpots began climbing to dizzying heights. The Mega Millions jackpot hit US $1.537 billion and, right after, the Powerball jackpot reached US $687.8 million. As the news spread around the world, even more people wanted to play. After all, that kind of money—if it is spent wisely, of course—could set up anyone’s family for many generations.

That is why if a jackpot reaches record-breaking levels, it’s a pretty safe bet that millions of people would still play it even if the odds of winning it were 1 in a billion. Each and every player would hope that maybe, just maybe, they’d be the lucky one. As a result, the adage “you’ll never know if you don’t try” perhaps doesn’t apply to anything more accurately than it does to lotto.

But a good question to ask yourself is how much money is enough? Do you really need $1 billion or would you be just as happy if you won $50 million or $20 million or $5 million? If any of these latter amounts would suffice, then it might make more sense for you to play lotteries that offer smaller jackpots and much better odds. For example, Canada Lotto 6/49 jackpot has previously reached CA $64 million, while Swiss Lotto has climbed as high as €62.3 million. Heck, even the Austria Lotto 6 aus 45 record jackpot hit €14.9 million.

Minimum Jackpots & Jackpot Caps

Minimum jackpots and jackpot caps are closely related to the last topic, as they determine the lowest and highest jackpots that a lottery might have. Knowing what minimum jackpots lotteries have is useful because that way you’ll know whether they’re worth playing immediately after a big jackpot has been won or if you should wait until the new jackpot reaches a truly impressive level after several weeks or months.

US Powerball and Mega Millions, for example, have very generous $40-million minimums—amounts that are higher than many other lotteries’ largest jackpots ever! Meanwhile, Canada’s Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max lotteries have $5 million and $10 million, respectively. Italy SuperEnaLotto and France Lotto's minimums are both set at a respectable €2 million, while Polish Lotto's is about €470,447.

While most big lotteries have minimum jackpots, most luckily don’t have caps (limits) on how big their jackpots can grow. This is the case with US Powerball and Mega Millions and a big reason why their jackpots get as crazy as they do. However, the lotteries that do have jackpot caps vary in their approach from reasonable, like EuroMillions' €190 million and EuroJackpot's €90 million, to stingy, like Italy Lottomatica's €6 million.

Rollover Caps

Rollover caps often go hand in hand with jackpot caps, but not necessarily. A rollover refers to whether or not a jackpot can keep growing—“rolling over” in lotto terms—from one lottery draw to the next. If it can roll over, it might do so indefinitely until there is a winner—something that is common to Mega Millions and US Powerball.

Other lotteries have caps on how many times the rollovers can occur. For example, UK Lotto permits 5 rollovers, German Lotto allows 13, and Hungary Hatoslottó offers an extremely generous 52 weeks. When the rollover limit is reached, then the jackpot prize “rolls down” to the next prize tier, meaning it will be split among all of that tier’s winners. In some ways, this is an ideal situation because the odds of the secondary tier are usually much better, meaning it’ll be quite a lot easier to win. The downside of this is that if there are multiple secondary winners, the jackpot will need to be split equally among all of them. Some lotteries even have rollover limits on the secondary tier, meaning the jackpot could roll down to a third prize tier, but in reality this kind of thing happening is extremely rare.

Taxes

Whether or not winnings are taxed is a worthwhile consideration, as that ultimately decides how much of whatever prize you win you’ll actually end up taking home with you. This is usually determined on a federal/national level, but in some countries, like the US, it can also happen on a state and even city level.

Therefore, if you win the US Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, as an example, you could be hit with as little as one tax (the federal tax, which can be as high as 37% on its own) if you bought your ticket in California, or up to three separate taxes (federal, state, and municipal totalling as much as 49.7% together) if you bought yours in New York City. While the US tax on lottery winnings varies depending on where you live and where you bought your ticket, it is still among the highest in the world overall.

Other countries that have high taxes on lottery wins include Switzerland (35% on wins above CHF1,000,000), Latvia (31.4% on whatever amount exceeds €55,000), and Romania (25% on any amount exceeding RON445,000).

Luckily, quite a few countries don’t tax lottery wins at all, meaning you get to keep every last penny/shilling/coin you win from the lotto games offered by these countries. Countries that belong to this list include Canada, Hungary, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Australia, and the UK. However, just because a country doesn't take a cut of the winnings at the time you're paid out doesn't mean you won't be liable for any capital gains and other types of charges. Understanding how the UK taxes lottery prizes is a good example of this.

Furthermore, an important caveat to mention is that if you’re playing international lotteries online and your country of residence taxes lottery winnings, you’ll still need to pay taxes after you transfer the money into your bank account. This applies to lottery winnings that were tax-free at the source (meaning the country you won them in) and winnings that the source country already taxed (meaning you could be double-taxed), so you can see why considering taxes is important if your main concern is trying to maximize your wins.

Payout Options

Payout options refer to how a lottery pays out its winnings, and this usually comes in one of two forms: lump-sum cash payments or annuity payments.

Lump-sum cash payments mean that all the money gets paid out to you in a single payment. This is the way that all lotteries’ secondary prizes and even the majority of jackpot prizes are paid out. What’s nice about this is you get all your money upfront, so you know exactly how much you’re getting and you can enjoy it right away. The downside is that, just like these infamous lottery winners did, there’s a much higher chance that the money will go to your head and you’ll blow it irresponsibly. Tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars might initially seem like a practically infinite amount of money, but never underestimate people’s greed and lack of common sense. Plus, you’ll likely have everyone you’ve ever known knocking on your door looking for a handout at one point or another.

Annuity payments, meanwhile, are an option that a few lotteries offer to their jackpot winners. What annuity means is that the money is paid out to you on an annual basis over a predetermined number of years—usually 20 to 30. There are several advantages to this method, starting with a lesser likelihood that you will squander your winnings in a short amount of time. In addition, if you win a huge jackpot in a country like the US, then the amount you’ll collect with annuity payments will be considerably bigger than the lump-sum payment, which will be heavily taxed in that first year. However, 20 to 30 years is a very long time, and a lot could happen, including tax laws changing, wars breaking out and lottery companies folding, or you getting sick, injured, or passing away before the payment period is complete and you ever got to enjoy all that hard-won money. Nevertheless, financial experts advise that annuities, which are contractually guaranteed, are ultimately the wisest option.

FAQ - frequently asked questions

  • What lottery should I play?

    This is a somewhat personal question that really comes down to which factors you value most. Though we consider US Powerball, Mega Millions, Canada Lotto 6/49, Austria Lotto, and Polish Mini Lotto to be some of the best lotteries in the world, other lottery games might have certain elements that appeal more to you. We recommend you read the “How We Rank Lotteries” section above to know exactly what to look for.
  • What lottery has the best odds?

    Some of the lotteries that offer the best chances of winning a jackpot are Poland Mini Lotto, Austria Lotto, Hungary Hatoslotto, Canada Lotto 6/49, Spanish Bonolotto, and Polish Lotto.
  • Which lottery offers the best value?

    Value really comes down to how balanced the ticket price and likelihood of winning a prize are. Therefore, in that regard, the number of prize tiers can also be an important consideration because some of the lotteries with the hardest jackpot odds might have 10+ prize tiers. Nevertheless, the best-value lotteries in our opinion are Polish Mini Lotto, Hungary Hatoslotto, and Canada Lotto 6/49.
  • What are the best lottery numbers?

    Though there is no such thing as “the best lottery numbers” since no one truly knows what numbers will be drawn next, some people believe that the best way to maximize your chances of winning are to choose the most frequently drawn numbers. These might be the numbers that have been drawn most frequently in the past few years or even the game’s entire history, and they will obviously vary from lottery to lottery. In the US Powerball, the most frequently drawn number in the past decade has been 20, and other numbers that have drawn frequently include 37, 2, 31, and 35. Statistically speaking, this approach makes a lot of sense, but it’s also entirely possible that the next big jackpot will be the result of a set of numbers that are rarely drawn, so it's worth keeping that in mind.

  • What is the best way to win the lottery?

    Playing strategically by choosing the most frequently drawn numbers (as discussed in the answer above) is certainly one way to increase your chances, but there are other ways to do so. One of the most popular ways is to play in a lottery pool. This can be done with a group of friends, family members, or co-workers, but it can also be done with a bunch of strangers through a lottery syndicate. Many online lottery sites offer this feature, and it’s absolutely the best way to increase your chances of winning a great prize. Another way to do so is to play more lines per draw and play more frequently, which is why lottery subscriptions are also a very popular feature of playing lotto online.
  • Will I win the lottery?

    We’re lottery experts and not fortune tellers, but we sure hope so! Though the above strategies will definitely increase your chances, being lucky is ultimately the #1 thing that you’re going to need. If you do win, please drop us a line and share the good news.

User Reviews and Comments (1)

user
Amit B.
5/5

My favorite lotteries are the US Powerball and the US Mega Millions, and I can also recommend EuroMillions


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