Even if they don’t have the best odds of winning, I still play slot machines and indulge in buying lottery tickets every once in a while. In fact, I’m sure most gamblers have done both at some point in their lives. But what if you had to choose?
Slot machine games and lottery tickets both offer small bet amounts and big prizes. But the lottery’s top prizes dwarf slot machine jackpots by a significant amount.
When you consider all of the facts about both the lottery and slot machines, the best option is clear. Here are five reasons why lottery games are a better option than slot machines. You have to get extremely lucky to win a big prize with either option, so why not take a shot at a huge payout?
1 – Bigger Top Prizes
Have you ever been involved in a conversation or even just overheard a conversation about a professional athlete or movie star making $20 or $30 million a year? A common thing to hear in these situations is how many millions does one person need?
If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck and are behind on your bills or don’t know how you’re going to put food on the table, it’s tempting to judge people making more money than you’re going to see in your entire life.
But the fact is that no matter what financial situation you’re in, more is always better. If you’re as poor as a church mouse, more is undoubtedly better. If you’re comfortable and have all of your bills paid and some money in savings and investments, more would still be better. And if you’re making millions, who wouldn’t say yes to a couple million more?
Real money slot machines have big top prizes. These top prizes are often $50,000 or $100,000 or higher. Progressive slots go over $1 million sometimes.
I don’t know anyone that couldn’t find something to do with an extra $50,000.
All of this is simply to point out that slot machines offer some great top prizes. But the slot machine with the biggest top prize isn’t even close to the top prize offered on some lottery games.
Big lottery draws for Powerball and Mega Millions start in the tens of millions and frequently climb to the hundreds of millions.
How many millions do you need? Winning $1 million or more is going to have a big impact on your life. It doesn’t matter if you win playing slot machines or the lottery. But when you’re looking for the biggest to prize amount, the lottery is clearly a better choice than slot machines.
2 – Less Expensive to Play
You can find slot machines that allow you to bet a quarter a spin. And these machines are plentiful. You can also find slot machines that have larger wagers, with $1, $2, and $3 machines becoming more common. You can even play high-limit slot machines at $5 and higher per spin.
Lottery tickets also offer a wide range, with a ticket to Mega Millions or Powerball costing $2 or $3, depending on whether you spend the extra $1. You can buy scratch-off and daily tickets for as low as $1 in most states.
You might be wondering how I can claim that it’s less expensive to play the lottery than slot machines if you can play slots for .25 and it costs at least $1 to buy a lottery ticket. Well, if you just played one spin with slots and you just bought one lottery ticket, it would be the same. But this isn’t how most gamblers play slot machines. Most don’t just spin once and leave.
Let’s say you sit down at a slot machine and bet .25 a spin, at a rate of 500 spins an hour—which is common for slots players—in just six minutes, you’re going to risk $12. That’s the same price as buying a few $1 or $2 lottery tickets for a few weeks in a row.
When was the last time that you played slots and only played for six minutes? My guess is that this has never happened. Most slots players play for at least an hour every time they play.
It’s less expensive to play the lottery than slot machines.
3 – Convenience
How far do you have to travel to get to the casino nearest to where you live? I have to travel 1 ½ hours, but many people live closer to a casino than I do. When I travel to a casino though, I probably drive by 100 or more places where I could easily buy myself a lottery ticket.
I live close to the middle of nowhere, and yet I can still get a lottery ticket and drive back home in less than 20 minutes. People who live in town can get a lottery ticket within a couple minutes. In most areas, you can buy a lottery ticket in any gas station or convenience store, and these are on every corner it seems.
You can pick up a lottery ticket on your way to work or on the way home. You can get one when you go to the grocery store or anytime you stop to get gas. It’s simply a matter of running into the gas station and asking for a ticket.
Of course, you can play online or mobile slot machines from just about anywhere now, but playing slots in a live casino is still the most popular way to play. It’s simply more convenient for most people to buy a lottery ticket than to find a slot machine.
4 – Multiple Lottery Options
You can find a wide variety of slot machines to play, but in the end, they’re really all the same thing. You make a bet, spin the reels, and hope to win. The only variety you get is when you get up and move to another machine.
The lottery has many different game options. You can play daily games like pick 4 or pick 3, play dozens of different scratch-off tickets, or take a shot at a big game like Powerball or Mega Millions.
This boils down to how you like to gamble. But from my perspective, the lottery offers more options than slot machines. I get a bit bored when I play slot machines, but I don’t get bored playing the lottery.
When I buy a Mega Millions ticket, I always figure out how much I’m going to get after taxes and spend a few minutes figuring out how I’m going to spend and invest the money. I enjoy thinking about this a great deal. And I simply don’t get this same entertainment value from watching the reels spin on a slot machine.
5 – The Dream Factor
I touched on this in the last section, but slot machines and the lotteries are two completely different types of entertainment. The way I look at the two options is that slot machines are a quick way to risk a little and hope to win a jackpot. And the lottery is investing a few dollars and enjoying the dream of winning.
You can dream about winning when you’re playing slots, but this has never given me the same level of excitement as buying a lottery ticket to a big drawing. The closest thing the lottery offers to slot machines for me is buying a scratch-off ticket.
A friend of mine put this in a way that has always stuck with me. He said that he knew he wasn’t going to win the lottery, but it was worth spending a couple dollars for the few minutes of escaping from reality that it gave him.
It’s worth a few dollars to me to dream about how $50 million could change my life and the life of my family. This is why the dream factor is better when you play the lottery than when you play slot machines. Plus, you certainly never see people lining up to play a slot machine the way you do with a million-dollar lottery prize.
If you had to pick either the lottery or slot machines, which way would you go? The lottery offers the chance to win more money if you get lucky, but is this worth taking a chance at the longer odds?
One thing that can’t be argued about is the cost of playing. The lottery is much cheaper to play than slot machines.
It’s also more convenient to pick up a lottery ticket than traveling to a casino to play slot machines. Lottery tickets are available everywhere, and slots are usually only found in a casino.
Finally, a lottery ticket can be a cheap way to dream about winning enough money to change your entire life.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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