FPL is not gambling, and there’s a lot we don’t like about the gambling industry, but is it ok to spend a couple of quid and dream about being a millionaire? With tonight’s EuroMillions Jackpot reaching £136m I’ve been asked to review a new lottery ticket buying service called Wshful that claims to maximise your chances of winning a life-changing amount of money.
Personally, I’ve never bought a lottery ticket. Although, I was once asked to pick one up for my mum. I chose the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 because any combination of numbers is equally likely to be drawn, and this combination (I believed) was the least likely to be selected by someone else so minimised the potential of a split. Anyway, my mum was not impressed so sent me back to get another “proper” ticket. Neither won. Anything.
The National Lottery pays back 53p in prizes for every £1 spent, while EuroMillions gives back 50p, and some global lotteries give back as much as 70p.
53% of the UK population play the National Lottery regularly. This is a number that astounds me. Why would anyone spend their money on something that systematically only gives them half of it back? I suppose the reason is that it’s not an investment, it’s a product. Buying a lottery ticket is buying a dream (or at least renting one, until it expires when the wrong numbers are drawn). It just so happens it’s not a dream that appeals to me, but I totally understand why it would to other people.
Wshful arrange syndicates and actually buy tickets on members’ behalves from the world’s largest lotteries. Some of these lotteries have huge jackpots of hundreds of millions, so splitting the winnings between 88 people would still make each member a millionaire. Their pitch is that, for £3 a week, they provide more chances of winning millions of pounds from lotteries that are normally not accessible by the UK public, especially Megamillions and Powerball. And they do so with automated buying and ticket collection, so it can all be done online. They recognise that you can buy these tickets if you try but tell us that it usually costs about £7 per ticket, and it’s a bit of a faff.
About half of the money they charge goes into buying tickets. The rest covers the costs of maintaining the site, processing payments and importantly, paying UK tax, which many of their competitors avoid by basing themselves in tax havens. This means that you get an average of 25-35p back in prizes for every £1 spent. Importantly, because they are actually buying real tickets for these lotteries (unlike the betting-based “secondary” lottery services which I won’t name) the right amount of money per ticket goes to charity.
Of course, if you only want UK lotteries and UK jackpots, you should still use your local newsagent. It’s better value for you if you are interested only in EuroMillions, you also get to support your local shops and you can set up syndicates for yourself and your friends.
While, participating in lotteries is a form of gambling, Wshful are pretty keen to keep it responsible and fun:
“We know that some lottery companies give you special offers to entice you to play and then start to grow your spend with constant promotions and communications until it can become a problem. We limit our customers to a maximum of £12 a week, You can’t spend more than that. Playing lottery should be fun. Wshful is fun.” – Josh, CEO of Wshful
My verdict it this: Buying lottery tickets is already an irrational activity. If you view it as spending an affordable amount of money to fantasise about paying off the mortgage and retiring early then Wshful is a good way of maximising your chances while minimising your losses. Also, until the end of October they are offering new customers up to 50 free Powerball lines.
As always, interested to hear what you think.