This article is aimed at the second group of players, i.e. those who play to supplement their income. These are the people who treat the lottery expenditures as an investment. Their objective is to continually win smaller prizes and not to lose any of their own money. Their mindset is similar to those who invest in options. They know that they will:
- lose a little,
- lose a little,
- make a lot!
To accomplish a viable cash flow of winnings, we suggest that playing the Pick 4 lottery game in your individual states.
While there are slight variations in cost and payouts, the basic format of the game is identical in most states. To win, the player must select 4 numbers that range from 0 to 9 in each of the positions. This means that there are 10,000 possible combinations. In general, the cost of each ticket is $0.50 and the payout is $2,500. And, in most states, the Pick 4 drawings are held twice a day, seven days a week.
In some states, the cost of the ticket is double ($1.00), but the payout is also double ($5,000). Further, many states pay out a fixed prize, and others determine the winning prize on a pari-mutuel basis. In these instances, we can still assume that the average payout per $0.50 spent is $2,500.
A Winning Strategy
To limit one's costs, we recommend that a player select only number that they wish to play. Then, we suggest that they play that number in every drawing until it wins.
By doing this, a player will be spending only $0.50 to win $2,500. Thay is a return of 5,000 to 1.
However, we recognize that the players number may not be drawn immediately. This means that the player will be spending $1.00 per day until it wins. This represents $365 per year and 700 drawings. If the number is not drawn for a while, the player has approximately 6.9 years (6 years 10 months) until he reaches the breakeven level (which is 5,000) drawings.
To help understand this strategy, we have prepared the table and graphs below comparing the Pick 4 lottery game to Powerball (PB), Powerball with Powerplay (X PB), Mega Millions, Mega Millions with Megaplier (X MM), Lotto 649 (L6), Lotto Max (LM), and Pick 3. The charts only consider prizes in those games where the player matches 4 balls.
|Weeks to Prize||Years to Prize||Cost per Year|
|X PB 4/5+||$3.00||$40,000||648,976||$13,333||$0.06||2||6,666.7||128.2||312.0|
|X PB 4/5||$3.00||$200||19,088||$67||$0.01||2||33.3||0.6||312.0|
|X PB 3/5+||$3.00||$200||12,245||$67||$0.02||2||33.3||0.6||312.0|
|X MM 4/5+||$2.00||$40,000||648,976||$20,000||$0.06||2||10,000.0||192.3||208.0|
|X MM 4/5||$2.00||$400||19,088||$200||$0.02||2||100.0||1.9||208.0|
|X MM 3/5+||$2.00||$400||12,245||$200||$0.03||2||100.0||1.9||208.0|
As you can see, the games with the highest return to the players are both the Pick 4 and Pick 3 games.
Next, we examine the Per Dollar Prize amounts. Here, we see that only 4 prize levels return as much money per dollar spent as that of Pick 4. These are the Powerball and Mega Millions payouts for matching 4 white balls and the Power or Mega ball.
Now lets consider the amount of time we have before we reach the $0 (zero dollar) profit level. Of the 6 prizes that exceed the 6.9 year level, total amount spent is substantially higher than the Pick 4 total of $2,500.
Lastly, we illustrate the yearly cost of purchasing one single ticket for each of the games. Here, we see that the Pick 4 and Pick 3 cost is highest. However, this is primarily a function of there being 14 drawings held in a week verses 2 for most games (and 1 for Lotto Max).
In summary, we believe that playing 1 Pick 4 combination continually in each drawing is a viable strategy for those lottery players looking to earn investment income at a relatively low and affordable cost!