What Draws People To The Lottery?

25 years after the National Lottery’s launch, ticket sales reached an all-time high of £3.92 billion between March and September 2019—an increase of 13.5% from the same period the previous year. This shows just how popular the lottery still is, with millions of Brits buying tickets each week in the hope of winning a life-changing amount.

There are six million active registered players in the UK, many entering into syndicates with their colleagues or friends to increase their chances. Syndicates are a way of playing the lottery in a group, allowing you to split the winnings fairly if you win, and companies like Lotto Social are becoming increasingly popular, by collecting and dividing any prize money between the group automatically.

But what draws us to these games in the first place?

The hope of winning

There’s an element of hope involved in buying a lottery ticket. Of course, you’re going to be excited at the prospect of winning millions, and it’s this possibility of success which keeps you hopeful. It’s a dream for most people, as they never really expect to win. And with just six numbers having the potential to change your life, the possibilities of what you could spend those millions on are endless. 

You’ve probably thought about what you’d buy if you won the lottery yourself. Research shows that 54% of people would buy a house, 36% a flashy new car, and 24% would invest. These kinds of games can provide players with a sense of escapism, giving them the hope that they might win, and have the opportunity to make these dreams come true in the first place.

The possibility of winning

You can be influenced to play again if you believe your lottery tickets are interrelated. For example, if you buy a few scratchcards and lose, you might buy another in the hope that the next one will be The One. This sense of possibility often leads people to think tactically, selecting numbers according to how frequently they pop up, or numbers which haven’t come up in a while. People also tend to see patterns when there aren’t any, and this can impact lottery play.

Similarly, many players are often to buy a ticket after they’ve heard about previous lucky winners in the news. The more you hear about them, the more you might want to play yourself. As big winners are often publicised in the news, you’ll be far more inclined to play if you believe that you can win too.


The allure of almost winning can encourage ticket-buyers to play again—it’s the idea that you were so close to winning that your chances of winning on the next draw feels much more likely. For example, getting three or four numbers on your lottery ticket may feel like a sign to buy another ticket, thinking the next time you play that all of your numbers will pop up.


If you’ve been playing the lottery every single week for years, it has become a ritual of sorts—something you simply must do. Whether you play the same numbers or pick random ones each time, you may believe that if you miss one even week of gameplay, that will be the week when your numbers will definitely come up. This is not something many players are willing to risk—even if they’ve never won before, the chances of winning are always there.

Easily justifiable

Spending a couple of pounds weekly on a lottery ticket isn’t exactly going to break the bank. It’s a small amount which is completely justifiable—after all, you may be lucky enough to win back those few pounds you spent. Popping to your local shop, or even playing online, doesn’t take very long. And besides, it’s fun to play, making buying tickets a no-brainer for many.