How to win a lottery

Can you guarantee a win on the UK National Lottery every time you enter? New Scientist says you can

By Raymond G. TaylorPublished 29 days ago 5 min read
4
AI Image generated using Bing / DALL-E

Mathematicians at the UK's University of Manchester claim to have hit on a reliable scientific method of guaranteeing a National Lottery win using only 27 number combinations. Reporting on the discovery, New Scientist explains that the method relies on a field known as finite geometry.

This article does not advocate gambling. The process described here can be played for fun only, for zero stake. If you are going to buy a lottery ticket only do so if you can afford to lose your stake. Never buy lottery tickets or otherwise gamble beyond your means.

The UK National Lottery's Lotto game was launched in 1994 and is a random mechanical draw of 6 out of 59 numbered balls, plus one bonus ball. It is played weekly on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Around 53% of ticket sales are allocated to a prize fund which is divided up and shared by prize winners at each level of prize. The jackpot consists of 9.79% of sales, the balance being allocated to the remaining prizes. To win the jackpot, a player must match all six numbers to those drawn. Other prizes are £1,000,000 for a match of five numbers plus the bonus ball, £1,750 for a five ball match, £140 for four balls, £30 for three balls. Those with two balls win a bonus 'lucky dip' ticket for a subsequent draw. If the jackpot is not won in any week, the money is 'rolled over' to the following week and, if not won on the fifth rollover, is distributed to all the other winners that week, through one-off prize increases.

Guaranteeing a win is not the same thing as guaranteeing a profit, and the article does not give an estimate of the chances of coming out on top. A win might only be a lucky dip. What's more, New Scientist, by publishing the given combination of numbers, has reduced the profit potential for those who decide to try the system out. This is because if more than one person uses the given number combination, if they win the jackpot, they must share it equally with every other winner of the jackpot prize.

In the Lotto draw on Wed Aug 26th 2023, a single player won £5,106,856 with all six numbers matched: Draw history

Unhelpfully, the article does not explain what the chances of winning any cash prize are for those following the given 27-ticket system either. The UK National Lottery does, however, provide its own approximate odds calculator for its Lotto and other games. The odds against winning the Lotto jackpot, for instance, are around 45 million to one. By entering with 27 separate number combinations, those odds would be reduced to something below 2 million to one. That is if my limited understanding of probabilities is correct. Any number combination has an exactly equal chance of winning the jackpot.

Given the downside in the Manchester University approach, I have therefore come up with my own variation. Instead of using the given

number combinations, I have substituted my own numbers, but sticking to the given series. For instance, '1,2,3,4,5,6' might become '11,12,13,14,15,16' but keeping to the same substitutions. So that 11 will always substitute for 1, 12 for 2, 13 for 3 and so on. Unless I have got it badly wrong, this approach should have the same guarantee of a win but, in the event of a jackpot win, will decrease the likelihood of having to share the prize money with another user of the Manchester Uni system.

Here then, is my take on how to win the UK National Lottery's Lotto game, with the same guarantee as the Manchester Uni system. Players must be over 18 and resident in the UK. Tickets may be purchased in person at any authorised outlet or online. Please note that I do not advocate gambling and you can test out the success of this 'system' without spending any money. Just choose your numbers and see if they match the winning numbers from the draw.

Ten top tips on how to guarantee a lottery win

1. Read the article in the New Scientist. You will need to obtain a copy of the August 5 edition or otherwise access the article, perhaps from a local lending library or academic source.
2. Note the full 27-number combination series from the article.
3. Either use these numbers or, if you are confident to do so, apply a substitution for each number. A spreadsheet helps enormously when you do this. For instance you could swap 59 for every 1, 58 for every 2... and so on.
4. If you want to enter the game, and are eligible to do so, allocate a sum of money to spend each month on tickets. Or you could just do it for fun by choosing your numbers (or sticking to the given numbers) and check your results each draw, creating an imaginary prize fund.
5. Lotto tickets cost £2.00 so, if you are entering, you will need a minimum budget of £54 for the required tickets for one game. If you cannot afford this, you could either form a syndicate with other like-minded players, or just play for fun without spending any money.
6. If you are going to play for real, you will find it a lot easier to play online. 27 tickets is a lot to write out on paper slips. Also, if you play online, you can play again using the same numbers so will only have to enter the full series the one time.
7. If you are intending to buy tickets and play for real, online, you will need to put at least £54 into your account. Don't do this unless you (or your syndicate) can afford to lose this amount of money.
8. Input your chosen numbers into the online system and/or your game spreadsheet. Confirm your ticket purchases if you are playing for real.
9. Wait for the next draw and then check your numbers.
10. Remember the only guarantee, if the Manchester mathematicians have got it right, is that you will win at least one bonus ticket.

Please remember there is no guarantee you will win a cash prize or make a profit. As with all lotteries and any gambling, you are almost certain to lose out in the long run, even if you make a short term win.

If you are going to play for money, The National Lottery's advice is to

DREAM BIG PLAY SMALL

Always play within the limit of what you can afford to lose.

https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/

Good luck!

how to
4

Raymond G. Taylor

Author based in Kent, England. A writer of fictional short stories in a wide range of genres, he has been a non-fiction writer since the 1980s. Non-fiction subjects include art, history, technology, business, law, and the human condition.

How does it work?

• L.C. Schäfer25 days ago

"Please note that I do not advocate gambling and you can test out the success of this 'system' without spending any money. Just choose your numbers and see if they match the winning numbers from the draw." - - this is both excellent and terrible advice. On the one hand, of course it is the responsible approach. HOWEVER, if your numbers came up and you ahdn't got the actual ticket, how is THAT going to feel? I bet you'd be pretty bummed out.

• L.C. Schäfer25 days ago

Right! I believe it's my turn this week!

• Mark Graham29 days ago

Just like the big lotteries over here in the United States. Yea, only play if you can afford to do so. Good work.

• Lamar Wiggins29 days ago

I’m a gambler, but like you said, play within your means. I learned this the hard way going to casinos. I actually have my best luck on roulette. It’s similar in the fact that you are picking numbers to land in order to win. Nice article, Ray! Good luck on Saturday if you play!

• Mariann Carroll29 days ago

Interesting, did you win ?