Lotteries have been in existence for as long as I can remember and I’ll be the first to admit I do play from time to time. The question here though is as to whether or not one can get rich playing the lottery. Well there’s a few ways to look at it and I’m going to give you some (hopefully) surprising insight into the lottery.

Slim chances

Do you know the probability of getting the correct 6 numbers from a draw of 42 numbers? 1 in 5245786. 1 in 5 million! In order to guarantee a win one would need to purchase 5245786 tickets. If we use the example of Africa Lotto which is a 6 from 42 at 25 cents a ticket (line) you would spend $1311446.50. The jackpot pool at the time of writing was estimated at $200000*. All this to say the chances of winning are incredibly small.

Somebody has to win it

However slim the chances of winning are that hasn’t stopped people from winning the lottery even by playing a single ticket. It’s a game of chance and eventually someone will win it, might as well be you. There are many stories of people who purchased a single ticket and won. I’m quickly reminded of survivor bias here though: all the people with losing tickets put in just as much effort as the winning ticket.


World over there’s a method of playing lotto through syndicates. Syndicates are a group of people who pool resources to play lotto in a manner that effectively increases their chances. They pool money together and play their entries together. Because of the group aspect they can afford to play a very long time and this is the reason they are likely to eventually win. Syndicates fair better than individuals when it comes to winning but just remember the winnings must be shared amongst all syndicate members.

Getting it vs Keeping it

Of course there’s a little more to the game of wealth than getting the money. Keeping the money is what makes you rich and this is where lottery winners just do not have it good. Unfortunately definitive statistics are not available but we have all come across at least one story of a lottery winner who burned through all the winnings and returned to where they were before winning. Robert Kiyosaki says the process of earning fortune teaches you specific lessons that give you the ability to keep wealth. So it’s little surprise that someone who just runs into money has difficulty keeping it. I’m sure there’s a great population of lottery winners world over who have won and managed to keep the money or even grow it.

The fallacy

The appeal of a game like the lottery is very simple, small but in for a potentially huge payout. Who doesn’t want that? Right?
There’s that saying, if it’s too good to be true it probably is. For the many who win absolutely nothing it certainly is. If you were to put your 25 cents (realistically people spend between $2 and $10 weekly) into something like the stock market you have better chances of retaining or gaining wealth. Of course our current economic conditions render the returns on our shares irrelevant due to inflation but there are more solid investment opportunities out there.

To answer the initial question- can you get rich playing the lottery, the answer is an emphatic yes. The more sobering question and I believe the right question to ask is WILL YOU win the lottery and get rich? I suppose there’s only one way to find out.