Casino gamblers often avoid the lottery, because it offers really low payback. The average lottery ticket pays back 50%, versus some casino games that pay back between 95% and 99%.
I for one love this aspect of casino gambling. And you’re much better off with casino games on a bet-per-bet basis.
But I can also make a very strong case for why you should stop going to the casino and play the lottery, despite its low payback. I actually use these points as reasons to purchase drawing tickets myself.
Keep reading as I cover all the reasons why the lottery is a better bet than casino gambling.
Slower Rate of Play
The lottery is one of the slowest forms of gambling, especially when it comes to drawings. Most lottery players only buy a few drawing tickets and/or scratch-offs per week.
And with a drawing ticket, you need to wait until a specific time and date for your bet to be determined.
Casino games are different, because they’re designed to offer hours of entertainment. This means that you’re going to make a lot of bets per hour.
Here are the average number of hourly wagers made with different casino games.
- Mini baccarat – 120-200 hands per hour (depending on table size)
- Blackjack – 50-90 hands
- Craps – 120 rolls (many bets require multiple rolls)
- Live poker – 15-25 hands
- Slot machines – 500-700 spins
- Video poker machines – 500-800 hands
You can see that casino games run at a faster rate in comparison to the lottery. Therefore, you’re going to make far more bets for every hour that you’re in the casino.
Of course, there are compulsive lottery players who buy lots of drawing and scratch-off tickets at once. But by and large, lottery players don’t come close to making as many bets as casino gamblers.
The Lottery is Actually Cheaper than Casino Games
Continuing off the last point, lotteries are normally cheaper for players in the long run.
This is surprising when considering the low lottery payback. But the faster rate of play in casino games is what makes this form of gambling more expensive.
Here are comparisons between how much you’ll spend on casino games vs. the lottery in the long run.
- 150 hands x $10 bets = $1,500 wagered
- $1,500 x 0.0106 house edge = $15.90 in theoretical losses
- $15.90 x 4 hours = $63.60 in losses
- 60 hands x $10 bets = $600 wagered
- $600 x 0.01 house edge = $6 in theoretical losses
- $6 x 4 hours = $24 in losses
- 600 bets x $0.25 = $150 wagered
- $150 x 0.05 = $7.50 in theoretical losses
- $7.50 x 4 hours = $30 in losses
- 600 bets x $1.25 (max hand bet) = $750 wagered
- $750 x 0.01 = $7.50 in theoretical losses
- $7.50 x 4 hours = $30 in losses
Major Lottery Drawings
- 5 tickets x $2 = $10 wagered
- $10 x 0.50 = $5 in theoretical losses
- $5 x 2 days per week = $10 in losses
- 10 tickets x $1 = $10 wagered
- $10 x 0.50 = $5 in theoretical losses
- $10 x 2 days per week = $20 in losses
- 5 tickets x $10 = $50 wagered
- $50 x 0.30 = $15 in theoretical losses
- $15 x 2 days per week = $30 in losses
When comparing the average habits of casino and lottery players, you can see that lotteries are normally cheaper over the long run.
Of course, I made assumptions on specific variables in the math. But somebody playing a 4-hour casino session and buying lottery tickets 2x per week are comparable in terms of average players.
The higher rate of play with casino games makes them more expensive when compared to lotteries. The only lottery game that’s similar to casino gambling in terms of losses is high-priced scratch-offs.
Other than this, you can play lotteries rather cheaply. The only drawback is that you don’t get as much overall entertainment from buying a scratch-off ticket or checking the numbers on a drawing.
But if you’re just looking for a quick thrill, instead of hours of entertainment, then this shouldn’t bother you too much.
It’s Easy to Buy Lottery Tickets
You don’t have to think very hard to buy lottery tickets.
All you need to do is walk into a local convenience store and look at the selection. You then tell the cashier what ticket(s) you want, and they’ll ring it up.
In the case of lottery drawings, you can actually pick your numbers. Most major lotteries also have a Quick Pick option, which randomly generates numbers for you.
Many lotteries sell online tickets too if you don’t feel like going into the store to purchase them. The process of buying online lottery tickets is easy.
You start by finding an online lottery retailer and registering for an account. You then select the draws and how many tickets you want. After that, you can use one of the listed banking options to complete the transaction.
Playing casino games is a more-difficult and time-consuming process. This is especially the case with land-based gambling, where you actually need to travel to the casino and walk through the complex to find games.
Anybody will find it much easier to visit a convenience store and buy lottery tickets within minutes.
Another problem is learning the actual casino games. While slot machines and video poker are easy to play, table games like blackjack, craps, Pai gow poker, and roulette each have their own set of rules.
One more thing worth mentioning is that many of the same table games have etiquette and superstitions involved. The dealer and/or other players will become annoyed if you violate these unspoken rules.
Buying lottery tickets, on the other hand, doesn’t require any serious etiquette. The only thing is to wait until convenience store lines are smaller to avoid holding up a bunch of customers.
The Lottery Doesn’t Involve Much Strategy
Another good thing about playing the lottery is that you don’t need to learn any complicated strategy. In fact, most people simply pick tickets based on lucky numbers and the brands they like best.
Of course, you should put a little thought into the matter. Here are few lottery tips that’ll help you in the long run.
- Join a workplace lottery pool so that you have more chances at big drawing prizes.
- Look for games with better payback.
- Play state lotteries (Mega Millions, Powerball) if you want lower volatility and a higher chance to win.
- Play lotteries when the jackpot is bigger, so your tickets have higher expected value.
- Avoid popular numbers to reduce the chances of tying for jackpots (e.g. 11 is statistically the most popular number).
Lottery strategy is extremely easy if you understand these simple tips. But certain casino games are different cases, including blackjack, poker, sports betting, and video poker.
Anybody can sit down and play these games after learning the rules. But they all contain a great deal of strategy that you must learn to boost your chances of winning.
If you don’t like spending time learning gambling strategy, then I suggest that you stick with the lottery or slot machines. Both of these feature simple play that anybody can pick up within less than a minute.
You can Play and be Anti-Social
Socializing is an inevitable byproduct of land-based casino games. And some players love the social aspect of baccarat, blackjack, craps, and other table games.
But other gamblers prefer solitude and don’t want to have a lengthy conversation while they’re playing. This is what’s nice about the lottery, because you can get your tickets with little to no conversation.
If you buy your tickets at a convenience store, you only have to ask the cashier and fraternize with them for less a moment. Purchasing online lottery tickets requires no socializing at all.
I’m not saying that chatting with the dealer and other gamblers is a bad thing. In fact, this is one of the highlights of playing land-based table games or live dealer gaming (online).
But sometimes you might be in the mood for a quick bet without having to talk to anybody. And lotteries are perfect for this, because the tickets can be easily purchased with little discussion.
The Lottery is Perfect for Dreamers
Few casino games compare to major lotteries in terms of the biggest prizes. Here are the largest lottery prizes in history to prove this point.
- $1.586 billion ($983.5m cash) from Powerball
- $758.7 million ($480.5m cash) from Powerball
- $656 million ($474m cash) from Mega Millions
- $648 million ($347.6m cash) from Mega Millions
- $590.5 million ($370.9m cash) from Powerball
The closest that the casino world has to offer in terms of huge payouts comes from slot machines.
The biggest slots jackpot ever is a $39,710,826 payout that happened at Las Vegas’ Excalibur casino in 2003. And the largest online slots jackpot is a £13,209,300 ($20,062,600) payout in 2015.
While these are certainly massive prizes, they still don’t compare to what you can potentially win with lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball. And if you’re somebody who dreams big, then the lottery can make these dreams come true.
You don’t Have to Spend Much Time with the Lottery
Another good thing about the lottery is that it doesn’t require much time to play. The main time expense involves purchasing your tickets either online or at a convenience store.
With scratch-offs, you only need to spend a few seconds scratching the opaque off every covered space. With a lottery drawing, you just need to pay attention to the time and dates listed on the ticket to see if you’ve won a prize.
Many news outlets and lottery organizations feature results online. This means that you can do a quick check to see if you’ve won anything.
Casino games are different with regard to time, because most people play more than one turn. In fact, the average casino gambler spends an hour or more playing.
Again, this can be a benefit if you want hours of entertainment from your gambling experience. But those who are just looking for a quick bet will appreciate how fast lottery games move.
The point of this post isn’t to argue that the lottery is superior to casino gambling. I actually prefer the latter, because I want longer entertainment and more thrills out of my bets.
But the lottery does have decided advantages that some gamblers will appreciate more than others. And two of the best things about the lottery include the slower play rate and cheaper costs.
Certain variables affect whether lotteries or casino games are ultimately cheaper. But the average lottery player spends less money, because these games move slower and feature a lower betting volume.
I also like how quick and easy lotteries are to play. You can walk into almost any convenience store and quickly choose your lucky numbers.
Contrast this to how some casino games include complicated rules and/or etiquette that discourage beginners.
One other great aspect of the lottery is that you can become rich beyond your wildest dreams. The odds of this happening are terrible, but you still have a chance as long as you hold a ticket.
If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive form of gambling that can make you rich, then consider buying some lottery tickets!