Five essential things you need to know about lotteries

Every so often, I’ll buy a lucky dip and I check my postcode on the Freepostcodelottery every day without fail. So when the guys at UK licensed lottery website Lottoland got in touch and said they could share some tips around entering the lottery and what you should do if you are lucky enough to win, I jumped at the chance to share the info.

Here’s our Q&A:

1. How do you improve your chances of winning the lottery?

Whilst the chances may be against you of ever winning a big lottery jackpot, there are some subtle changes you can make to way to approachyour lottery playing tactics that may give you more of a winning chance. For example, if you have lucky numbers that mean something to you, or perhaps the special birthdays of your loved ones that you want to use on a weekly basis, by all means do. However, make sure you keep up with your purchases, as there is surely no worse feeling than seeing your winning lottery numbers the week you forgot to buy your ticket. Did you know many veteran lotto players only pick numbers over 31? Studies show that most people play numbers based on special days of the month such as birthdays and anniversaries. Therefore, by only picking numbers over 31 you’ll decrease your chances of sharing the winning numbers with another player and splitting any big prizes you do win.

2. How do you deal with friends and family members asking for money when you win the lottery?

Whilst it is only natural that you will want to treat your loved ones and allow them to reap the benefits of your finances, you should be wary of any ‘friends’ or ‘distant family members’ who may only be keeping in touch in order to try and manipulate your situation for their own monetary gain. If they haven’t been a friend to you through your lower years, then they shouldn’t get a chance to enjoy the results of your highs. If you begin receiving unreasonable requests for hand-outs from those who you don’t feel deserve it, try the honest approach and let them know that at the moment you aren’t able to release any funds to them as you are wary that it will lead to others asking the same of you. If they are a true friend they will understand, and if not then you know you definitely made the right decision.

3. If I win the lottery, how will I know whether I really have enough money to give up work/pay off my mortgage, buy a property abroad?

After winning the lottery, it is only normal the majority of individuals are eager to quit their jobs and start planning for their new, luxurious lives. However, no matter how much you may have won, it is always advisable to seek out a reputable financial advisor or accountant before making any big decisions, such as the purchase of a property. Always make sure to pay off all debts before making any expenditures and where possible pay off periodic payments like rent and bills well into the future. Always make sure you are in the black and then give yourself a healthy ‘cushion’ in the future before you start making big purchases.

4. Who else is entitled to my winnings if I win the lottery?

Lottery winnings are now much safer than they once were. In the past, paper lottery tickets were virtually like money – if you lost your ticket the person who found it was often entitled to the money unless you could somehow prove it was yours for example by pre-signing your ticket. These days lottery retailers are much more sophisticated at being able to electronically track tickets to the rightful owner. Even better, by playing online through an online lotto provider like your winnings are 100% safe since all tickets can only be assigned to one account and because your ticket is digital there is no chance of accidentally misplacing it. If you and your spouse or partner purchase lottery tickets together regularly, past legal cases have shown there is a good chance the court will find in favour of a 50/50 split, even if one person bought the ticket. On the other hand if one spouse or partner bought the ticket independently of the other on a regular basis then some courts have decided to award the winning only to the buyer in cases of dispute. There is no hard laws on these cases and will likely be very dependent on the specific circumstances in the relationship. Whatever you do, do not attempt to hide lottery winnings if you win them during a divorce etc. One woman did so in the United States and her entire multi-million dollar prize was awarded to her ex-husband as a penalty for trying to deceive the courts!

5. What are the benefits of entering a lottery syndicate? 

Playing as part of a syndicate with colleagues is one of the most effective ways of increasing your chances of winning the lottery. By pooling your resources you can buy many more entries into the lottery and therefore greatly increase your chances of winning. In fact, many of the biggest lottery jackpots of all time have gone to people playing as part of a syndicate with friends, family or colleagues. Of course, playing in a syndicate means splitting the pot if you do win, but do you really need £100 million all to yourself? Most people (and their children and grandchildren) will be able live the Life of Riley off of a portion of a lottery jackpot. When playing in a syndicate always make sure to draw up a simple syndicate agreement stating who is participating and important rules like when a syndicate member is included or excluded. This does not need to be formal and many examples are available for download online. Such an agreement will act as a legally binding document to protect all syndicate member’s ‘fair share’ of the prize money. There are several famous examples of good friends and even family members falling out because they did not draft a simple lottery syndicate agreement so take 5 minutes to ensure your win is never spoiled by such lack of foresight.

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