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The Washington Independent

How Does the Washington Lottery Compare to Other Big Lotteries?

How Does the Washington Lottery Compare to Other Big Lotteries?

Lots of us love playing the lottery, and for good reason. It’s one of the few widely accepted forms of gambling that lets you put down a small amount of cash with the potential to win a life-changing amount of money.

Frazer Pugh
Finance
Nov 29, 2021

Table of Contents

Lots of us love playing the lottery, and for good reason. It’s one of the few widely accepted forms of gambling that lets you put down a small amount of cash with the potential to win a life-changing amount of money.

Lots of states have their own lottery games to play, and Washington is no different. Of course unless you are a serious lottery fan, you might not know how Washington’s version stacks up against other state-run games, so here is a look at the main facts and figures to help you choose where and how to play.

The biggest names in the business

The good news is that Washington is home to two of the most prominent brands on the national lottery circuit, in the form of both Powerball and Mega Millions. For some time only Mega Millions was available to Washington residents, but Powerball joined the fray in 2010, giving customers even more choice.

Unsurprisingly these lotteries do not attempt to compete against one another, with Mega Millions draws taking place on Tuesdays and Fridays, while Powerball draws are scheduled on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

These are ranked as some of the best US lotto games from lotteryamerica.com, and the jaw-dropping jackpots reflect this. In the past players have literally won billions on Powerball specifically, and this is all down to the multijurisdictional nature of the draws. So in this sense, Washington’s lottery opportunities are on a par with those in most other states.

The local lottery options

Moving on from the mainstream lottery games, Washington definitely exceeds expectations in terms of the sheer number of state-specific alternatives that are available.

This not only gives residents and visitors more choice, but also keeps things interesting throughout the week, rather than forcing you to wait for days on end for a draw to roll around.

The unambiguously named Lotto is the pick of the pack in terms of jackpots, as of course these roll over from draw to draw, and can easily creep into the seven or eight figures on a regular basis. The draws themselves occur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is part of the reason that the prizes can accumulate to steep sums in a short span of time.

The main downside of Washington’s Lotto is that the odds of hitting a jackpot-winning run of number matches are almost seven million to one. Furthermore the second tier prize, for a five number match, is just $1,000. Even so, with a $1 price of entry, this is an inexpensive and thus fun lottery game.

Next up is Hit 5, a lottery game with a twist in that the jackpot does not stack up based on consecutive draws where no winner is found, but rather is based on ticket sales for each of the three weekly draws. Going hand in hand with this condition are the amazingly appealing odds; you have a one in 576,000 chance of taking the top prize. This compares favorably not only with Washington’s other lotteries, but also with those run by nearby states.

Further down the jackpot list comes Match 4, which requires players to pick just 4 numbers to be in with a chance of winning $10,000 as a top prize, the odds of which occurring are one in 10,600. $2 tickets make this daily-drawn game a little more expensive, but this could be justified because of the lower risks involved.

Lastly there are both the Daily Game lottery, with tickets from as little as 50 cents and top prizes of $500, alongside Daily Keno, which has a $100,000 jackpot if you manage to match 10 numbers.

Quick cross-state comparisons

Now you have an idea of what Washington’s lottery scene looks like, how does it equate to other states that are not too far away?

Well, it has a couple more state-specific lottery experiences than Oregon, and is also ahead in terms of providing more accessible games in terms of odds than its neighbor to the south.

Washington also outdoes Idaho in terms of sheer choice, and there are also many more draws each day. Conversely, Fridays and Sundays are entirely lottery-free in Idaho, which might not sit well with committed fans.

So there you have it; Washington’s lottery extravaganza is fairly inexpensive, especially if you take budgeting seriously and only gamble what you can afford to lose. Obviously you need to be located in the state to buy tickets and collect your winnings, but if you are a resident or willing to travel, then this is definitely a lottery paradise to explore.

Frazer Pugh | I work in the investment management sector as a professional. Previously, I advised top financial services companies on balance sheet management, portfolio planning, and valuations as a consultant. I am currently pursuing a part-time MBA at Melbourne University, where I am a lecturer in accounting and hedge fund strategies, as well as a mentor/coach in a part-time equity analysis initiative. I have a bachelor's degree in economics, a master's degree in finance, and am a Chartered Accountant. I enjoy instructing and assisting others in achieving their objectives.

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