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OLG’s Tony Bitonti Discusses Lottery Odds and Chance

Lottery games are quite popular across Ontario and Canada as a whole but how likely is one to win a jackpot? To answer the question, Tony Bitonti, spokesperson for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently spoke on the topic of odds, randomness, and chance. He also admitted chances are quite low, but one can never know their luck.

OLG is a state-run corporation responsible for regulating and offering licensed gambling options in Ontario, including lottery games. Despite the likelihood of triggering a jackpot being significantly small, these odds have not stopped players in 2023. It was reported that Ontarians purchased approximately CA$4.3 billion worth of lottery tickets last year.

Low Odds Do Not Stop Players from Competing

In a recent interview, Mr. Bitonti noted that the odds of winning any jackpot in a game are astronomical. However, he believes it gives people a chance to dream and that is really what happens in the province. OLG reveals the odds of winning the Lotto Max jackpot are 1 in 33.2 million, while Lotto 6/49 comes with odds of 1 in 13.9 million for the classic main prize.

He continued by saying that odds do not change, as winning depends on whether or not the number a player has picked is randomly selected. Meaning, that the number of people playing does not affect the likelihood of one winning. Also, numerous side-contests within the two games mean that the chance of winning any prize is 1 in 7 for Lotto Max and 1 in 6.6 for Lotto 6/49.

However, Mr. Bitonti reminded that that the odds vary in the new version of Lotto 6/49 which was launched last September by OLG and other provincial lotteries. The game’s new Gold Ball draw is more of a raffle with a winner selected from each round. The representative also said that when a player buys a ticket, then they compete against players all across the country.

Last year, five individuals won the Lotto Max jackpot and another 19 claimed Maxmillion prizes worth CA$1 million. Also, 14 people were drawn as winners of the Lotto 6/49 jackpot, three won the multi-million Gold Ball and nearly 150 claimed prizes worth CA$1 million. According to OLG data, in 2023, lotteries paid out over CA$2.5 billion in prize money.

CA$70M Jackpot Remains Intact

Mr. Bitonti also noted that despite the extremely long odds of winning big, 2023 witnessed a jackpot worth CA$70 million remain unclaimed. In an attempt to find the missing winner, OLG started a campaign to remind players to double-check their old tickets. However, it was in vain, as the mega windfall expired on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

According to the Crown organization, the paper ticket was sold at a lottery retailer in Scarborough, but it was never validated at an OLG lottery terminal or shown to OLG on or before the deadline. Mr. Bitonti said that these things are not common, and there were prizes which have expired before, but not ones worth an amazing CA$70 million.

Source: Callan, Isaac “How likely are you to win an Ontario lottery jackpot in 2024?Global News, January 1, 2024