# The Truth About Winning Small Prizes in the Lottery

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Last updated on January 1, 2024

Like any other gambling, the lottery is especially good at tricking you into thinking you are winning when you hit the small division prizes. Some lotto mentors try to convince you to fuel your hobby by winning small prizes frequently to hit the big one. The truth is that, in totality, you’re losing.

In this article, I would like to discuss many lotto players’ mentality about winning small prizes or winning in general. Lottery playing could easily turn into lottery addiction if this mentality is not corrected early on.1

Many lotto players use the lottery wheel because the idea is to keep on winning small prizes until you hit the jackpot. But you probably do not know about an ugly truth with the lottery wheel. Read The Winning Lottery Formula Using Math.

As for winning small prizes, realize that the odds of the lottery are designed to put you on the losing side for the majority of the time.

Winning the big jackpot requires a full understanding of the whole thing and a proper mindset. It cannot be done by a “keep-winning-small-until-you-hit-big” kind of mentality.

But some players get too excited about winning small and forget the totality. Players tend to remember their wins and forget the vast majority of losses. So lotto players think it’s possible to make money out of winning small prizes occasionally when, in reality, it’s not. Humans are very susceptible to this fallacy.

For example, if you place a \$30 bet on a lottery game and win \$100, you gain \$70 in that event alone. However, if you have been playing a \$30 bet on the lottery for five weeks and just one ticket paid out, then you lost.

Considering the previous money you have spent in the past, you will come to realize that you’ve not won.

## “I play for 20 years and have won a total of \$2000…”

If you spent about \$10 per week in a lottery, you probably spent about \$520 yearly. You should have accumulated about \$10,000 in 20 years.

So, in totality, you’re losing. And the more tickets you buy, the more money you lose.

Additionally, since lotto tickets are relatively cheaper, players tend to buy more than just one without realizing the cumulative effect of such behavior.2

In an article published at The Source, Dr. Romel Mostafa, a visiting professor of strategy at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, said:

We found that when purchasing decisions are made myopically — buying one lottery ticket at a time — participants end up buying significantly more tickets, in fact 50 percent more tickets,…

The odds of playing the lottery are not the easiest to beat. In U.S. Powerball, for example, the odds in favor of winning the jackpot is 1 in 292 million.3

You are more likely to run out of money first than to win those small prizes frequently, let alone win the jackpot.

## Get Some Reality Check Too

It’s difficult to win the lottery. And there is little thing you can do to control the outcome of a random game like the lottery.4

So if you win some lower division prizes in the lottery, it’s a positive thing to celebrate, even if it’s not an impressive amount, because it boosts your motivation to win more.5

The thing is that make sure you are aware that the odds of the lottery are not designed in your favor most of the time.

A little bit of trivia: According to a CNN report, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed lottery prizes each year in the U.S. alone. Most of the unclaimed prizes are small.6

If you’re after the fun and the shot at “what if” you hit the main lottery prize, then go for it, but don’t think you’ll gain money by winning small prizes occasionally. Hardly.

The lottery can never be a source of full-time income.

So let me give you some recommendations:

1. Buy a lotto ticket for fun and excitement. Understand that you are spending money much the same way as buying a ticket to the cinema or a ticket to watch a football game.
2. Save money for entertainment and set aside a bigger budget for the retirement fund. For example, your mutual fund will cover you in your old age if you never win the lottery.
3. If you have to play the lottery, you might as well do it right. Read How to Win the Lottery According to Math.

## Forget About Winning Small Prizes

If you’re playing the lottery regularly, stop thinking you’re gaining by winning small prizes. The lottery is not designed that way.

Make a perfect budget plan, learn how to strategize your game, and implement the plan consistently.7 If possible, join a lottery syndicate.8 With a lottery syndicate, you enjoy a high probability of winning without the high cost.

Your objective as a lottery player is to hit the big prizes. And math remains the only tool you can use to get the best shot possible at winning the lottery. Read The Winning Lottery Formula Using Math.

With a mathematical strategy, you get the best shot possible. You beat the waiting time and can dream bigger rather than just being content with the smaller ones.

Suppose you didn’t hit the jackpot. Consider the money as an expense for having fun. After all, you play the lottery for fun.

How does the lottery trick players into thinking they are winning?

The lottery tricks players into thinking they are winning by offering small division prizes. This creates an illusion of frequent wins, overshadowing the reality of larger losses. Such minor victories encourage continued play, as players focus more on these infrequent wins and less on their cumulative losses. This psychological effect makes players feel closer to a big win, although the odds remain highly unfavorable.

What is the impact of winning a small prize on player psychology?

Winning a small prize in the lottery impacts player psychology by creating a false sense of achievement and progress. Despite being a minor win, this positive reinforcement leads players to overlook their losses. It fosters a belief in their increasing chances of winning bigger prizes, even though the odds remain unchanged. This psychological effect can encourage players to buy more tickets, perpetuating a cycle of play that often results in net financial losses.

Can the lottery be a source of full-time income?

No, the expected value of the lottery is negative. The odds of winning are generally low, and the lottery is not designed as a sustainable income source. It’s a game of chance where most participants are more likely to incur losses than make significant gains. Players are advised to view lottery games as entertainment.

What strategy is recommended for lottery players?

The recommended strategy for lottery players includes having a budget plan to avoid overspending and using mathematical strategies to improve their chances. It’s also suggested to consider joining a lottery syndicate to pool resources and increase the number of tickets played using a lottery wheel. However, players should always remember that the lottery is a game of chance and has no guaranteed winning strategy.

What should players understand about the odds of winning the lottery?

Players should understand that the odds of winning the lottery are generally not in their favor. Lotteries are designed to benefit the organizers more than the participants. The chance of winning a significant prize is extremely low, and for most players, the cost of regularly purchasing tickets will outweigh any winnings. Players must view the lottery as entertainment rather than a realistic money-making method.