How to boost chances of winning $150m
ALMOST half of all Australian adults are expected to have a ticket for tonight's record-breaking Powerball draw.
But while the odds of pocketing the lot aren't exactly in your favour, it turns out there are ways to dramatically boost your chances of winning.
According to The Lott spokeswoman Bronwyn Spencer, the key could come down to understanding the different lottery ticket types that are available to punters.
For example, the chance of winning tonight's $150 million prize - the largest sum ever offered by a lottery game in this country - is around 1-in-134 million if you buy a single-game entry.
Meanwhile, the chance of winning Powerball with a 12-game entry - which costs $14.50 and is the cost popular option - is about 1-in-11 million.
It was also the ticket type used by Australia's current record-holding lottery winner, a Sydney mum who scored $107 million in January.
Ms Spencer said one of the best ways of increasing your odds was to buy more games.
The smallest entry you can get in Powerball is a four-game entry - but more than a third of this year's division one winning entries have been 25-game entries.
And while many lottery players agonise over whether they should choose their own numbers or have them randomly selected for them, it turns out there has been an even split of winners between the two options so far this year.
But Ms Spencer said one key strategy was to opt for PowerHit entries, which at $24 costs $9.50 more than the most popular 12-game entry.
However, it means that if all your numbers are drawn, the all-important Powerball is also guaranteed.
"During the past eight weeks, we've had 46 division two winners. These players had all the winning numbers but not the Powerball number. If just one of these players had purchased a PowerHit entry, they would be multi-millionaires," Ms Spencer explained.
"While the PowerHit entry may only look like one line on your ticket, players should remember that this type of entry is actually 20 games which consist of the same seven numbers but each game has a different Powerball number from one to 20.
"This means if you do score the division one prize, you will also snag division two a massive 19 times which would bolster your prize dramatically."
She said a quarter of Powerball division one winners this year held PowerHit entries.
Other types that could increase your chance of wining include System and Pick entries.
"A System entry allows you to pick more numbers from the main barrel of 1 to 35. For example, a System 10 entry gives you every seven-number combination of those 10 numbers. There's even a PowerHit System entry that not only allows you to pick more numbers from the main barrel but also guarantees the Powerball number," Ms Spencer said.
"Another entry people may not be aware of is the Pick entry, which guarantees you either one or two of the winning numbers."
Ms Spencer said these types were popular choices for syndicates among family, friends and colleagues.
BUT SHOULD YOU BOTHER?
According to financial adviser Kyle Frost from Millenial Indpenedent Advice, lottery tickets are on the "low end of the gambling scale" and unlikely to have a serious impact on your financial future - in moderation.
"I don't see an issue with buying lottery tickets as long as they are budgeted for and you know the implications and that the odds are stacked against you - there's a really small chance of winning a life-changing amount and you would be better off to save those lotto expenses or invest them," he said.
Mr Frost said as long as your lottery habit wasn't affecting your ability to pay your bills, it was probably relatively harmless - but he said most people would be better off investing the cash and getting smaller but more guaranteed financial "wins" that way.
He also warned of many cases of lucky lottery winners who ended up frittering away their fortunes because they weren't used to handling that much cash instantly.
"A lot of winners aren't used to managing wealth and within a few years they lose it all because of frivolous spending and family expectations, so is it really as life-changing as you think it was going to be?" he said.
And according to Foster Ramsay Finance principal Chris Foster-Ramsay, a regular lottery habit could even impact your chances of securing a home loan or how much you could ultimately be allowed to borrow.
He told news.com.au a $20 ticket once a month would be unlikely to raise red flags but that larger, regular expenses could come back to bite you.
"We're required to ask questions about (spending) and pick up patterns, so while the Powerball tonight is not an issue, or even tickets bought once a month, where a lender can draw the line is in terms of regular behaviour," he said.
"It's not so much about 'does this person have a problem?' but … it means that because your living expenses are higher, your potential borrowing capacity is less and you may not be able to buy the home or get the amount you need to borrow."