Lotto Betting in the Bookies

What is it?

Bookies like Paddy Power and Boyles Sports offer an alternative to buying an Irish Lottery ticket. Similar to Keno lottery games from casinos in the U.S, you can pick a certain number of balls, and win a prize if all your balls come up. Note: ALL your balls must come up.

An example probably helps illustrate this better. You could pick 3 balls, and place a bet with the bookies on these 3 numbers coming up (either including or excluding the Bonus ball). If all 3 come up, you win. If 2 come up, you do not win anything.

Why Do It?

So why would you want to place a bet with the bookies instead of buying a National Lottery Lotto ticket? The answer is, because you get much "fairer" odds.

Betting on the Lotto in the bookies makes more mathematical sense than buying an actual Lotto ticket - the odds you are getting in the bookies are "fairer" than those provided by the National Lottery.

We are defining "fairness" in terms of the ratio of the odds offered to you on any given bet, compared to what the actual odds of winning it are.

An example would suit best again. If you buy a Lottery ticket which you now pay €2 for, and imagine you match 5 numbers plus the bonus. You win €100,000 for your €2 stake, meaning you got odds of 50,000 / 1 on that bet. That means the fairness of your bet was a mere 2.8%, as based on odds you should get €3,579,190.

In the bookies however, picking for example one number from 6, pays you odds of 6/1. The actual odds are 7.83 to one, meaning the "fairness" is 76%.

Lotto 1 number PP

The other main reason you would want to bet with the bookies is that the bookies offer much better odds than the National Lottery's equivalent game called Lotto 5-4-3-2-1, but only for some choices, as detailed below.

Lotto Bookies Odds

The tables below shows the odds you can get on each site for Irish Lotto betting. You can bet in a 6 Number Game, which excludes the Bonus Ball, or the 7 Number Game which includes it.

The bookies have much better odds than the National Lottery's Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 game, when you pick 2, 3 or 4 balls as your bet. If you pick 1 or 5 balls, the odds are the same, as you can see in the tables below.

Bookies Odds

6 Ball Game Bookies
Matched Numbers Odds
5 125,000/1
4 * 7,500/1
3 * 625/1
2 * 60/1
1 6/1
7 Ball Game Bookies
Matched Numbers Odds
5 40,000/1
4 * 3,800/1
3 * 330/1
2 * 40/1
1 5/1


* indicates better odds than in the National Lottery table below

National Lottery 5-4-3-2-1 Odds

6 Ball Game 5-4-3-2-1
Matched Numbers Odds
5 125,000/1
4 6,000/1
3 550/1
2 45/1
1 6/1
7 Ball Game 5-4-3-2-1
Matched Numbers Odds
5 40,000/1
4 3,000/1
3 275/1
2 32/1
1 5/1



The main disadvantage with Paddy Power is that the minimum stake you can place is 50c per line. Doesn't sound much, but when you are playing hundreds of lines per month like me, it's a big difference!

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