How to Play and Win at Online Lotteries

Did you know the roots of lottery games date back as far as 205 BC in ancient China? That means people have been enjoying the thrill of lucky number picks, or something like it, in exchange for big win potential for more than two thousand years! When you look at the simplicity of the game, as well as its widespread appearance across the world, it's not difficult to understand why it has remained so popular.

While you might be familiar with your country's national, often government-sponsored lottery, that's not your only option when it comes to this popular game. Thanks to the proliferation of online casinos, you can now explore online lottery games too, of which there are many varieties. Join us as we delve into the topic of how to play and win an online lottery!

Learn to play online lottery in a few steps

How to Play Online Lotteries

Most people have a good idea of how lotteries work, and online lottery games follow a very similar format, making the different variants very easy to pick up and play. The basic idea of a lottery is guessing which numbers will emerge in a random draw of a range of numbers. Various lottery games are played with their own rules, but they all revolve around the same basic principles.

The first part of the lottery game is where you, the player, get to pick which numbers you think will emerge in the draw. Similarly to land-based lottery games, choosing numbers for online lottery games is typically as simple as clicking on the numbers you want to pick.

The second part of the game is the draw, which in many cases, you get to watch while biting your nails in anticipation (that's all part of the fun!) as you wait to see if any of your chosen numbers come up. If you manage to match enough numbers, you win a cash prize! There are a few variants of the game, which we'll look at in more detail below. But first, let's take a closer look at the numbers, the draw itself and the different bets you can place on online lottery games.

The Lottery Numbers

All the numbers in a lottery game are usually printed onto balls, just like you might have seen in other popular number pick games like bingo or keno. This is to mix the numbers to ensure a fair draw. Different casino games offer a different range of numbers to choose from. Some allow you to pick from 49 numbers, while others give you 60 numbers to choose from. You can also find other lottery games that let you pick from as few as 36 numbers

The range of numbers you can pick from tends to influence the number of digits you can choose that you think will win, with a smaller range often coming at the cost of fewer numbers to choose. The numbers you can interact with to pick which ones you think will come out in the draw are generally displayed on your screen. Choosing your numbers is usually a simple case of just clicking them.

The Lottery Draw

Once you've chosen the numbers you think will win, the next part of the game involves the actual draw itself. This is the mechanism that's used to determine the winning numbers. There are a few ways in which the draw can take place. In online lottery games where you're buying an online ticket, picking numbers, or simply betting on the outcome of a country's government-sponsored lottery, it's usually the televised draw itself that is used to determine the results. 

Most of the time, this is a large tombola or enclosed transparent plastic machine that mixes the numbered balls before automatically opening to allow the required number of balls through to a separate area so they can be announced as the winning numbers.

In some online lottery games, a Random Number Generator (RNG) is used to determine the results to ensure fairness. There are also live dealer online lottery games in which a proprietary ball machine is used to mix and select the winning numbers.

Lottery Bets

You may think that betting on lotteries is simply a case of guessing the correct winning numbers. While that is the basic idea of online lottery, there are more bets to be explored! First, let's look at the typical lottery bet. Buying a prenumbered ticket, picking numbers, or simply betting on a country's lottery outcome is the standard way of betting on lottery games. Placing a bet is simply a case of clicking on the numbers you think will win, accepting the cost, usually set on a per-line or ticket basis, and then clicking the relevant button to place your bet.

Online lottery games operate in a very similar way. The only difference is that you pick your numbers online instead of in the shop or at your nearest ticket vendor. However, things start to get interesting when you consider live dealer online lottery games! Here, you can explore a huge range of other bets that turns the excitement level up several notches. Here are a few of them:

  • Choose one to four or more specific numbers that will drop;
  • Choose one number that will NOT drop;
  • Bet that none to five of your seven chosen numbers will drop;
  • Bet on the sum of the dropped balls (less than/more than);
  • Bet on the sum of specific coloured balls that drop;
  • Bet on how many balls of a particular colour will drop;
  • Bet that more odds than even numbers will drop;
  • Bet that the first/last number to drop will be odd/even.

As you can see, different games can offer different bets, so it's worth taking your time to explore all your options to find something that suits you.

Lottery Variants

As mentioned above, there are a few different ways of playing online lottery games. Let's take a look at the most common variants you're likely to come across:

  • Buying tickets for national lotteries: Most countries these days have their national lottery, and it's quite common to find online casinos that let you buy tickets or pick numbers just like you would if you were to buy them at your local shop or vendor. This type of game class the online casino as a vendor as they have no connection with the lottery itself.
  • Betting on the outcome of national lotteries: More common than buying tickets for a national lottery through an online casino is betting on a national lottery draw at an online casino. The distinction is subtle but important. In this case, the online casino effectively sets up its market, with the national lottery draw results being used to determine the winners. Here, the number of winners or win amounts of the national lottery have no bearing on the prize pools of the online casino's market since it's entirely separate.
  • Online casino lotteries: Many online casinos offer lottery games similar to national lotteries. They may offer different ways to win, with results usually driven by RNG.
  • Live online dealer lotteries: These are the most modern version of online lottery games, providing many more ways to bet and win, as we mentioned above. In these games, draws take place every few minutes, making them much faster paced and more exciting. You'll find these variants in the live casino section of new online casinos.
  • Sweepstakes: originally began as a type of lottery where a prize or prizes can be awarded to those who won the contest. Typically, there are two ways to play sweepstakes - one completely for fun or in promotional play where you can redeem prizes for cash if you win.

Best ways to win an online lottery game

How to Win Online Lotteries

In online lottery games where you're buying a ticket or betting on the outcome of an existing lottery, you win by matching enough of your numbers with the winning numbers that emerge from the draw. How many numbers are needed to win is determined by the range of numbers used in the draw, how many you get to pick, and the prize breakdown of the lottery. Some games payout with just two numbers, while others may require you to match three or more numbers to win.

In the case of live dealer online lottery games, there are many different types of bets, so there are many more ways of winning! Some bets may result in a win just for guessing that more odd numbers will be drawn than even numbers or that the total of all the numbers drawn will be more or less than a certain amount. While it's great to know how to win, it's also important to know how much you can get if you do win. That's where the payouts come in...

Payouts With Lotteries

The prize pools of national lotteries tend to vary depending on how many people have entered, with a set base amount typically used. Rollovers may also influence how much can be won, especially at the upper levels. Generally speaking, payouts will depend on how many numbers have been matched. 

Betting on the outcome of national lotteries as offered by the best online casinos, where you are betting on their market, involves very similar payouts. In the case of live dealer online lottery games, payouts vary according to the bets offered. Here are the same chances as mentioned before, this time with their corresponding payouts (multiple of stake):

  • Choose one to four or more specific numbers that will drop: 5.7x to 2,000x; 
  • Choose one number that will NOT drop: 1.14x;
  • Bet that none to five of your seven chosen numbers will drop: 3.5x to 1,800x;
  • Bet on the sum of the dropped balls (less than/more than): 1.17x to 19x;
  • Bet on the sum of specific coloured balls that drop: 1.9x;
  • Bet on how many balls of a particular colour will drop: 1.01x to 200x;
  • Bet that more odds than even numbers will drop: 1.9x;
  • Bet that the first/last number to drop will be odd/even: 1.9x.

Online Lottery Strategies

So now you know how to play and win online lottery games. Is there any way you can boost your chances of winning? In most cases, the answer is no. Since the results are determined at random from a draw, there isn't any surefire way to predict which numbers will emerge. There are a few interesting ways to play with the numbers that may work for you, and you might find it useful to get an idea of the various payouts as a way to determine which bets are more likely to come up.

Common or Rare Numbers?

Many people look at the results of previous draws to see which are the common (hot) or rare (cold) numbers, with the idea that they are most likely to come up next. There are no maths behind it, but it might be fun to try.

Consecutive Numbers?

Some believe that choosing consecutive numbers, such as 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, means you'll be more likely to hit a winner. Again, there's no mathematical basis for this, so your results may vary!

Same Numbers Every Time?

Lots of people stick to playing a specific set of numbers each time, believing that sooner or later, their numbers are bound to come up. Worth a shot, maybe?

Plain Number Pick or Other Bets?

Rather than just going for the traditional number pick, you may decide to try the various live bets available in some online lottery games. Many of these can offer much better odds of winning.

Check the Payouts

Compare the odds of a traditional lottery win to that of live dealer lottery games, and you'll see you're more likely to win playing the latter than the former, but that comes at a cost, with wins often much smaller as a result. Check the payouts to find a happy medium between the likelihood of winning versus how much you'll get if you do win.

Start playing the best lotteries with real money

Do You Want to Play Online Lottery?

Keen to start playing online lottery games? Open a new account and make your first deposit at any online casinos featured on our site that offer the online lottery games you're interested in playing. Then place your bets and go for a win!

Can I play at different online lotteries?

Yes! When buying lottery tickets online, you can select from any number of them. At a national lottery, for example, you may find that there are different draws throughout the week, and you can buy tickets for as many of these as you like, depending on the rules of participation.

Can I buy national lottery tickets online?

Yes! The national lottery allows players to buy both tickets and scratch cards online. You can play them in your browser or even in the dedicated lottery app.

Can I play the UK National Lottery online?

Yes, you can select from any of the UK National Lotto draws including the Lotto, Euromillions, the Set For Life draw, the Thunderball, and a huge range of instant win games.

Giuseppe Faraone
Giuseppe Faraone verified symbol Author (10 Years of Experience)
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Based in Valencia, Spain, Giuseppe gave up Milan for sunny shores. New licenses, new casinos, new bonuses, new games - there's always something to write about. Being so close to the action in the gambling industry, he's on top of any new developments the minute they come through the door. Aiming to deliver updates and comprehensive information to you, he does his best to thoroughly test out and rate what he reviews.
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Reviewed by Julia Attard, Senior Author