Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use
Knowledge Exchange

What are Odds?

Simply speaking, “odds” is the term used to describe the chances a person placing a bet has of winning. In gambling:

  • Odds are the chances of winning
  • Odds are always against the person placing the bet
  • The “house” always has the edge

In every betting game, the odds are against the player. That means that the “house” (the casino, bingo hall, racetrack, lottery commission etc.), is absolutely guaranteed, mathematically, to “win” over time. For every millionaire that is created from lottery winnings, there are millions of others who have lost their money!

The longer you gamble; the more likely it is you will lose.

Many people who develop problems associated with their gambling have the false belief that they will be able to 'beat the system', while others may not understand that the odds are against them and that over time, they will lose money.

Comparing the Odds

The odds of winning the Lotto 6/49 are approximately 1 in 14 million.

  • A person has a 1 in 3 million chance of sighting an UFO. That's almost 5 times more likely than winning the jackpot.
  • You are more likely to die of a flesh eating disease (1 in 1 million) than winning the lottery. That's 14 times more likely than winning the jackpot.
  • You are more likely to be killed by lightening (1 in 56,439) than win the lottery. That's almost 250 times more likely than winning the jackpot.
  • You are more likely to be killed in a traffic accident driving 16 km to purchase a ticket than winning the jackpot.
  • Imagine you are standing blindfolded on a football field holding a pin. A friend has released an ant on the field. Your chance of piercing that ant with your pin is about one in 14 million, the same odds of winning the Lotto 6/49 jackpot.
  • The odds of winning the top prize at maximum coin play on the slot machines ranges from 1 in 4,096 to 1 in 33,554,000.

Another way to look at the odds of winning the lottery jackpot

Mrs. Jane Doe lives somewhere in Ontario. Try reaching her by randomly dialing one of 12.5 million Ontario phone numbers. Your odds of calling Mrs. Doe on the first try are better than winning the lottery.

Introductory Video
View a short introductory video to learn more about the Self-Help Gambling Tools.
Gambling Quiz
Answering these nine questions will help you understand if gambling is having a negative impact on your life.
Monitor Your Gambling & Urges
Use this tool to keep track of when you gamble, or feel the urge to gamble. Mobile App also available.
Self-Help for Those who Gamble
Do you gamble? These interactive tools will help you explore, cut down or stop gambling.
Self-Help for Family and Friends
Does someone you care about gamble too much? With these interactive excercises, learn why they gamble and what you can do to help.