How to determine Lottery Probability in Excel

Are the lottery odds ever to your benefit? If you know the superior prize, you may use Excel to determine the lottery probability and find out if it's worth buying a ticket.

While the lottery is never a "good bet" mathematically, there are occassions when it's a lot better than others. In fact, there are actually times when the lottery odds are on your behalf. With Excel, you can calculate lottery probability and figure out exactly what your odds are of winning. First, let's consider an example.
Problem: The Super Lotto jackpot is $8 million now. Should you play?
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Strategy: It depends on how many numbers come in the game. You need to figure out the variety of possible combinations there are in the game. You can use the COMBIN function to determine the amount of combinations by selecting six numbers out of a group of 40.
1) Set up a spreadsheet with the quantity of balls click here with your lotto game in cell C2.


2) Identify the number of numbers you should select correctly in cell D2.
3) Enter the formula =COMBIN(C2,D2) in cell E2, as shown in Fig. 451. (Click image for a larger view.)

If your state lottery game requires you to select six numbers from 40, then a odds against you winning are 3.83 million to a single. For a $1 bet with an $8 million payout, the odds are in your favor.
For a game title with 44 numbers, the likelihood is 7 million to at least one. This payoff is slightly in your favor.
For games with 48 or 54 numbers, the payout is not worth the long odds of the sport.
Additional Information: COMBIN figures combinations. Here, the sequence where the balls are drawn in isn't relevant. If you had a casino game where you had to fit both the numbers as well as the order where they were drawn, you would then want to use the PERMUT function to find the quantity of permutations of drawing six numbers in sequence away from 40.
Summary: Use the COMBIN or PERMUT functions for figuring the quantity of combinations or permutations.
Functions Discussed: =COMBIN(); =PERMUT()

Interested in mastering more Excel tricks and techniques? Be sure to search through the countless other Excel tutorials and user guides offered at Bright Hub, including the following collections.

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