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Lottery Odds Explained

What are the odds of a lottery win?

Two gumball machines; one slightly larger than the other. Inside each is one orange ball amongst blue ones.

The odds of winning in draw-based lottery games are based on two factors:
1. How many numbers must be matched
2. The range of numbers to be selected from

For example: For LOTTO 6/49, the odds of winning the Classic Jackpot are based on matching 6 numbers out of a range of 49 numbers.

The more numbers there are to match, and the more numbers in the overall pool of numbers, the greater the odds.

Picture the odds

A very tall top hat upside down next to a giraffe

Consider this: The odds of winning Lotto 6/49’s Classic Jackpot are approximately 1 in 14 million, similar to the odds of putting the name of everyone in Ontario in a hat - a very tall hat - and randomly pulling out your own.

Can you increase your odds of winning?

That would be amazing, but when it comes to winning the lottery, it’s all about chance. There’s no system or skill to beat the odds.

Winning numbers are chosen randomly, and all that affects the odds is the total number of possible combinations as determined by the game mechanics – not the number of people playing.

Are the odds affected when a jackpot rolls over, such as in a progressive jackpot? No, odds don’t change – they’re based solely on the numbers that must be matched and the number of possible combinations for a given game.

In case you were wondering: OLG ensures that draws are completely fair and random. It’s regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and there are precautions to make sure the odds of winning can’t be changed by OLG employees or lottery retailers, in any way.

How do Lotteries and Raffles differ?

The odds of lotteries are different from raffles. With raffles, the odds change based on the number of players. With lotteries, the number of players makes no difference to the odds of winning.

For example: ONTARIO 49 and LOTTO 6/49 have the same odds of winning the jackpot, because for both games you must match 6 numbers from a pool of numbers ranging from 1-49, even though, historically, fewer people play ONTARIO 49.


Some games, like LOTTO 6/49, feature a classic lottery draw prize and a raffle prize.

Why are there more winners from cities?

A road sign that reads, “Welcome to BIG CITY, population 2,653,456”.

Yes, it’s true there are more big-city winners, because there are more people in big cities to buy tickets. And the more tickets sold, the higher the chances that a winning ticket is in that batch.

So, the GTA will often yield more winners than sparsely populated Northern Ontario. But there are winners in smaller towns too, because winning numbers are picked completely at random.