Dear Uncle Colin,

Can you help me win the lottery using MATHS!?

– Lots Of Time, Tremendous Optimism

No.

I mean, there's a chapter in The Maths Behind^{1} on exactly that topic, but honestly? If I knew how to win the lottery, I'd be drinking mocktails on a Caribbean beach rather than writing snitty blogposts about it, wouldn't I?

Lotteries are *not vehicles for making you money*. Lotteries are vehicles for making lottery organisers money. Unless there's some set of circumstances (such as a series of rollovers) that makes the available prize pot larger than the money spent on tickets for that draw, there is – by design – no reliable way to make money by playing the lottery.

(Scratchcards, in some situations, are different. Unless they're designed carefully, there can be exploitable weaknesses. However, the answer is still no.)

I normally sign off "hope that helps", but I'm aware that this doesn't really – unless you count the advice "don't play the lottery" as helpful.

– Uncle Colin

## Colin

Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008.
He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.