Lotteries have long been the most popular form of gambling across the world. In fact, over 50% of people participate in state and/or multi-state lottos.
The thought of spending a few bucks to play for seven figures might sound harmless. However, you’re being completely ripped off by the lottery!
What’s more is that you don’t have to buy tickets just for a chance to win big. I’ll cover more on why the lottery is so disadvantageous along with what jackpot casino games are more worthy.
Why Is the Lottery Bad?
The biggest draw to lotteries is definitely the jackpots. All eyes immediately go to the massive Powerball and Mega Millions. These lotteries seed their jackpots at $20 million and $40 million, respectively. Both have paid as much as $1.5 billion in a single drawing, too!
Of course, you don’t have to play the largest lotteries to win big. California, Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, for example, feature huge prizes.
The biggest problem here, though, is that most gamblers never look beyond the top prize. They’re so blinded by winning life-changing money that they don’t consider the awful odds they’re facing.
Mega Millions gives you 1 in 302,575,350 odds of winning the jackpot. It only offers 20% return to player (RTP) after being first seeded. Powerball offers slightly better jackpot odds at 1 in 292,201,338. But it only delivers 23% RTP after being initially seeded.
The good news is that both lotteries theoretically pay out more as the jackpots grow. Powerball and Mega Millions offer 60% and 55% RTP, respectively, when their jackpots reach $250 million.
But even these payout percentages are nothing to brag about. In rare cases, keno is the only casino game that offers payback anywhere near this low (60% to 70% RTP at worst). No form of gambling features as big of prizes as multi-state, or even some state, lotteries. However, no type of gambling features this bad of a payback either.
What Jackpot Casino Games Are Available?
You don’t need to settle for winning $0.50 or less back for every dollar gambled. Instead, you can play the following casino games and enjoy both reasonable RTP and big jackpots.
Real Money slot games are the closest thing to the lottery in casino gaming. They’ve paid as much as $39.7 million (Megabucks) in a land-based casino and $21 million in an online casino (Mega Moolah).
Of course, most slots don’t offer anywhere near these amounts of money. But there are plenty of games that feature multimillion-dollar prizes. Slots also deliver much higher payback than the lottery. You can expect between 89% and 96% RTP in land-based casinos and 95% to 98% RTP in online casinos.
Even at $0.25 per spin, you’re risking $100 to $150 per hour at this rate. But you also get more play with slots per dollar wagered than you get with lotteries due to the higher RTP.
Caribbean Stud is a poker game that sees you try forming a better five-card hand than the dealer. You also have an opportunity to play for a progressive jackpot.
You need to place the minimum ante bet to play. Casinos give you the option to go for a progressive jackpot with a $1 side wager.
Once the betting round ends, you and the dealer receive a five-card hand. You must decide whether to “raise” (worth 2x the ante) after getting your cards.
By folding, you lose the ante and jackpot bet (if placed). If you raise, you and the dealer compare hands to see who has the stronger holdings.
By beating the dealer, you’re eligible for one of the following payouts:
- Royal flush – 100 to 1
- Straight flush – 50 to 1
- Four of a kind – 20 to 1
- Full house – 7 to 1
- Flush – 5 to 1
- Straight – 4 to 1
- Three of a kind – 3 to 1
- Two pair – 2 to 1
- Anything – 1 to 1
Your side bet entirely depends upon hand strength, not whether you can beat the dealer. Here’s a common jackpot pay table:
- Royal flush = 100% of progressive jackpot
- Straight flush = 10% of progressive jackpot
- Four of a kind = $100
- Full house = $75
- Flush = $50
Your odds of receiving a royal flush are 1 in 649,740. Although these are long odds, they’re still much better than your chances of winning the average lottery or slots jackpot.
Furthermore, some Caribbean Stud jackpots grow to be worth between $250,000 and $1 million. This game offers 94.76% RTP (ante/raise only) with perfect strategy.
RTP on the side bet depends upon how much the top prize is worth. You can expect an overlay (over 100% payback) when the jackpot exceeds $250,000.
Let It Ride
Let It Ride is also a poker game. However, it features notable differences when compared to Caribbean stud.
First off, it only sees you receive three cards. You use these cards along with the two community cards to form a five-card hand. Second, Let It Ride gives you a chance to withdraw up to two-thirds of your original bet. You spread your wager equally across three betting circles (e.g. $1/$1/$1).
You have an opportunity to withdraw one-third of the bet after seeing your three face-down cards. The second chance to take back a third of the wager comes upon seeing the first community card. You “let it ride” if you don’t take back any portion of your bet. After the second community card is dealt, you flip your cards over to see if you qualify for a payout.
Herein lies another difference between Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud.
Everything revolves around you receiving a qualifying hand. Here’s a standard pay table:
- Royal flush – 1,000 to 1
- Straight flush – 200 to 1
- Four of a kind – 50 to 1
- Full house – 11 to 1
- Flush – 8 to 1
- Straight – 5 to 1
- Three of a kind – 3 to 1
- Two pair – 2 to 1
- Pair of 10s or better – 1 to 1
- Anything else – Loss
This game provides the chance to play for a progressive jackpot too. You can place a $1 side bet to chase the following payouts:
- Royal flush – 100% of progressive jackpot
- Straight flush – 10% of progressive jackpot
- Four of a kind – $500
- Full house – $100
- Flush – $75
Let It Ride jackpots can grow quite large. In fact, one player won a progressive jackpot worth $1.52 million at Betfair Casino New Jersey.
You can expect some decent progressive prizes at other casinos too. For example, RealTime Gaming casinos commonly feature a Let It Ride jackpot worth over $100,000.
Should You Still Play the Lottery?
You may be turned off by the lottery after seeing the incredibly low RTP. But this form of gambling does have a few redeeming qualities, including the following.
Biggest Available Jackpots
You simply can’t find any bigger prizes than what the lottery offers. Here are the largest jackpots in lottery history:
- $1,586.4 billion (Powerball) – Jan. 13, 2016
- $1,537 billion (Mega Millions) – Oct. 13, 2018
- $768.4 million (Powerball) – Mar. 27, 2019
- $758.7 million (Powerball) – Aug. 23, 2017
- $687.8 million (Mega Millions) – Oct. 27, 2018
The largest casino gaming jackpot ever paid is $39.7 million. An anonymous gambler at Excalibur Casino won this payout in 2003.
$39.7 million is definitely a life-changing amount. However, it doesn’t come anywhere close to equaling history’s largest lottery prizes.
Spend a Few Dollars Per Week
If you play the lottery, you likely don’t spend that much on your hobby. Assuming you’re like most people, you probably only gamble $5 to $10 on tickets each week.
Of course, exceptions to the norm do exist. I’ve personally seen people spend over $150 on scratch-offs in one trip. However, the average lottery player doesn’t risk anywhere near what they would through an hour-long session of slots, Caribbean Stud, or Let It Ride.
Cheap Entertainment Value
Continuing off the last point, the lottery is a really cheap source of entertainment. You can purchase tickets, wait for winning numbers, and get thrills for a small amount of money each week.
The lottery doesn’t always offer such low payout percentages. In fact, the Idaho (80.0% RTP), Massachusetts (73.41%), and Arkansas (71.87%) state lotteries also offer decent payback.
But these lotto’s are exceptions to the norm. You’ll normally receive between 30% and 60% RTP depending upon the jackpot size.
Casino games offer much higher payback along with large prizes too. You may not win $500 million through slots or Caribbean Stud, but you can play for seven figures.
You’ll also get more play per dollar wagered. That said, you should definitely consider playing the jackpot casino games covered here.