Hospital lotteries are becoming increasingly popular in Canada. That’s because, not only do you get a chance to win many terrific prizes, but you also get to donate money to a worthy enterprise – The hospital. And, the money goes to worthy hospital causes, like cancer research. But, of course, the lottery has to sell tickets and many of them do it by claiming to have the best chance to win a million dollars. That means, according to them, that if you are looking for the best odds to win a million dollars, you should buy a hospital lottery ticket rather than a regular lottery ticket.
Is this true? Is playing hospital lotteries your best chance at winning a million dollars? The answer is both yes and no. On the surface, these lotteries do offer the best chance at $1 million. Let’s look at an example. One of the most popular hospital lotteries in Canada is the SickKids Lottery. Tickets cost $100 each and they print a maximum of 99,500. If all printed tickets are sold, then the odds of winning the $1 million grand prize would be 1-in-99,500. That’s actually amazing odds and you can’t beat that.
But, of course, the SickKids Lottery only offers the best odds on the surface. Let’s dig a little deeper. For the $100 that you pay for the SickKids ticket, you could buy many more regular lotto tickets. Take for example the Ontario 49 game which is sold in the province of Ontario. Tickets cost 50 cents each and the game offers a jackpot prize of $1 million. That means that for the $100 that you spend on a SickKids ticket, you could buy 200 Ontario 49 tickets. The odds of winning the Ontario 49 jackpot on a single ticket are 1-in-13,983,816. But, since you could buy 200 tickets, that would better your odds to 1-in-69,919. Those are better odds than the SickKids lottery at 1-in-99,500.
So there you have it, playing a hospital lottery is not your best chance at winning a million dollars. However, the money that you spend on tickets goes to a good cause and so it is still worth it to play.