Which Has Worse RTP: Bingo or the Lottery?

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Lottery or Bingo Return to Player

Bingo and lotteries share multiple aspects in common:

  • They both offer large payouts.
  • They’re popular among casual gamblers.
  • They each feature lower return to player(RTP) than the average form of gambling.

The latter is a key hang-up if you’re somebody who likes maximizing your gambling entertainment. But you should know that one of these games features even worse payback than the other.

That said, I’m going to cover the average RTP for bingo and lotteries. I’ll also discuss which game is superior and which one is inferior regarding payback.

Average RTP for Lotteries

Lotteries draw most of their popularity from the huge jackpots that they offer. Mega Millions, Powerball, and Euro Millions, for example, have all made international headlines for the giant prizes they’ve delivered.

Of course, you don’t need just need to play these world-famous lotteries to chase big money. You can also do so through state lotteries and national lotteries.
If you want life-changing money, then the lottery is the answer. You can go for prizes worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.


The problem, though, is that you pay dearly for these opportunities. Most lotteries only offer between 50% and 60% RTP.

These figures are terrible when compared to many other forms of gambling. Here are examples of how much other types of gaming pay back compared to the lottery:

  • Baccarat = 98.94% RTP (w/ banker bet)
  • Blackjack = 98% to 99.5% (depends upon rules & strategy)
  • European roulette = 97.30%
  • Sports betting = 95% (depends upon the juice & strategy)
  • Three-card poker = 97.66%

Online Instant Win Games Are an Exception to the Norm

You can see that lotteries offer a dismal long-term chance of winning profits. However, online instant win games do provide a fair opportunity to make money.

Here are examples of popular instant win games and their RTP:

  • Foamy Fortunes = 96.3% RTP
  • Lucky Gems = 96.0%
  • King Kong = 95.0%
  • Wild Champions = 95.04%

You can find these games at online casinos and/or internet lottery retailers. They pay back much more money than the average lottery.

The one drawback, though, is that these games don’t feature multimillion-dollar prizes. But some of them do feature six-figure payouts.

Overall Expected Value from Lottery Games

Lotteries provide lots of money for state educational and social programs. Therefore, many people give this form of gambling a pass for its low payout percentages.

As somebody who wants to win, though, you can’t do the same. You must factor the low payback into the equation before committing much money to the lottery.

Taking the average of instant win, state, and national lotteries into account, you’re looking at between 60% and 70% overall RTP.

Again, payout percentages largely depend upon which type of lottery products you choose. An instant win game will offer much higher RTP than Powerball, for example.

Average RTP for Bingo Parlors

Bingo is all over the place with regard to payout percentages. The differences amount to the various locations that this game is available.
Here are some of the places where you can play bingo:

  • Bingo sites
  • Casinos
  • Churches
  • Community centers
  • Parlors

You really have no way of knowing the payback in certain locations. After all, the local church isn’t going to feature hardline RTP figures on bingo night.

In general, though, operators take a large cut of the action. Much like with the lottery, many bingo organizers raise funds for good causes.

Operators feel validated in taking a bigger percentage of bets in these cases. Therefore, you may only see between 50% and 70% RTP in churches and community centers.

Bingo sites, casinos, and parlors are a different story. These establishments run bingo games as for-profit businesses.

They need to pay back a decent amount of money to players. Otherwise, they won’t get much repeat business from customers.

That said, you’ll be looking at between 60% and 80% RTP in casinos and for-profit parlors. These figures still aren’t great, but they’re better than the average lottery.

Online Bingo Is an Exception

Bingo isn’t the most-generous form of gambling when it comes to payout percentages. However, you can boost your winnings by playing over the internet.

Online bingo is similar to instant win games in how it offers higher RTP. You can normally look forward to between 91% and 95% payback through the internet version.


Baccarat, blackjack, and many online slots offer better payout percentages than this. Nevertheless, you can win back a decent percentage of your money with online bingo.

You should consider performing some research before playing at bingo sites. Such research helps you find RTP for given games.

Some operators even put payout percentages in the information screen. In this case, you can simply select the “i” button to find the RTP.

Overall Expected Value from Bingo

Again, bingo presents a tricky situation when trying to nail down payback. The large array of locations that hold these games make it difficult to peg an average RTP.

By taking the sum of all locations and online websites, though, you’re probably looking at an average of 65% to 75% RTP.

This range isn’t markedly better than lotteries. However, it does give you a little better chance of winning money in the long run.

Your expected bingo value will largely depend upon which games you play and where. The best opportunities in terms of payback lie with online bingo sites.

An internet bingo room usually delivers between 90% and 95% RTP. These payout percentages are almost on par with what you can expect through other forms of gambling.

Should You Even Bother with the Lottery or Bingo?

Bingo and lotteries will never be mistaken for playing real money blackjack when it comes to generosity. Neither type of gaming gives you an amazing chance of earning profits.

Both get away with lower RTP because they often raise money for good causes. As a result, some people don’t mind that they’re facing poor odds when they believe in these causes.

From a pure gambling perspective, though, you don’t want to voluntarily donate money to the house. Instead, you should consider higher-paying bingo games and lotteries.

You’ll find the highest-paying versions at online casinos. Gaming sites usually deliver between 90% and 95% payback with instant win games and internet bingo.

These figures are far from guaranteeing profits. They do, however, offer much better payback than most land-based bingo and lottery games.


The average lottery features worse RTP than the typical bingo game. Lotteries generally pay back between 50% and 60%.

Of course, you can improve your odds of winning money by playing instant win games online. The latter offer between 90% and 95% RTP.

When accounting for land-based and online venues, bingo pays a little more than lotteries. It delivers between 65% and 75% RTP. Internet bingo is similar to instant win games in that it provides 90% to 95% payback.

In summary, bingo is your best bet in many situations. But you can also improve your lottery chances by focusing on instant win games.

Michael Stevens

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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