Winning the lottery! It is what we all want. The top “jackpot” prize is what we would all like to win, but we know there are just a few top prizes and our odds are pretty long. As you buy lottery tickets and scratch looking for the top prize, you sometimes hit a nice reward along the way. Not a huge prize but a nice chunk of cash that keeps you happy. So how do you chose which lottery scratch game to play?

Many lottery players look at the overall odds of winning to help make their choice. The lower the odds, the better the lottery game. Right? In many cases you might be WRONG!

I’ll take a look at two similar $5 lottery scratch games, one from the Florida Lottery and the other from the New York Lottery. Both have similar “money for life” featured for the top prize.

The New York Lottery “Money For Life” game has overall
odds of 1 in 5.09


The Florida Lottery “$2500 a Week For Life” game has overall
odds of 1 in 4.02

FLA 2500 for life

You might think the Florida game is better because of the lower overall odds. They achieve the low odds by increasing the number of “break-even” prizes: The $5 wins. This reduces the amount of money available to make those “nice win” prizes which I define as between 4 and 10 times the cost of the $5 ticket ($20 to $50) These prizes are called Mid-Tier prizes in lottery vocabulary and are key to keeping players happy as they pursue the top prize.

Lets look at how the two games stack up

$20.00 1 in: 60.00
$25.00 1 in: 160.00
$30.00 1 in: 267.67
$50.00 1 in: 480.00

$20 1 in: 29.27
$25 1 in: 100.00
$30 1 in: 240.00
$35 1 in: 171.43
$50 1 in: 100.00

WOW! The New York Lottery game has lots more of these significant prizes. The odds of winning $50, ten times your wager, are almost 5 times better with the New York Lottery game over the Florida Lottery game.

Overall odds can be deceiving. Often they can indicate that a game has more significant prizes and fewer of the “Darn, I just won what I paid” prizes.

In the near future this website will give you recommendations of games to purchase, state by state, based on the math under the latex. Stay tuned.