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Video: How do draw game odds work?

March 14, 2019 Posted by NC Lottery at 3:17 PM

During the month of March, we’re explaining some of the most common gambling myths so you have a better understanding of how odds work. This week we’re tackling draw games.

There’s no magic formula for picking the winning numbers when you play a draw game. The odds of a specific number coming out never change. Watch this short video to see how draw game odds work.


Myth #1: Odds of winning go down when more people play.

FACT: The odds for each jackpot game remain constant. Each player has the option of choosing any number combination available. This means that each ticket has the same chance of winning. No matter how many people play the game, your odds of winning will not change.

Myth #2: If I get a Quick Pick ticket I am more likely to win.

FACT: The odds of winning stay the same regardless of how you choose your numbers. Each number combination has the same chance of coming out. This means, it doesn’t matter if you pick your own numbers or let the computer pick, the odds will not change. 

Myth #3: If I buy my ticket in a big city my chances of winning are better.

FACT: No matter where you buy your ticket, the odds of winning will not change. Odds are based on the number of tickets you buy and the amount of number combinations, not on your location. You can buy a ticket at any retail location in the state or online and still have the same chance of winning.

It’s also important to remember that drawings are independent of each other. This means, every number combination has the same chance of being drawn.

You can find the odds for each of our draw games by going to and looking under the “Games” tab.  
Remember, the more you know, the more fun you’ll have playing our games.



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3/26/2019 01:20 - Kyle E.

There are several ways to cheat any lottery game just like any other game of chance but there's a huge difference between a person or a group of people cheating a game and the lottery being rigged or the odds being fabricated or a computer picking the winners in advance. There's no evidence on Google or anywhere else of any lottery in this country being involved in the wholesale cheating that you like to go on and on about. Individuals or groups can and will cheat if there's a way to do it. That's not by any stretch of the imagination the same thing as "the lottery" cheating it's customers. Believe it or not there's far too much money to be made by the lottery companies honestly to risk it by cheating people.

3/26/2019 07:48 - nc s.

You say people talk about the lottery being rigged,etc. but have no proof. You then proceed to say some lottery people cheat. WHAT? How can they cheat if the lottery is truly random and can't be rigged? Google if you want evidence and get out of your lottery bubble. You answered the question for us; if it can be rigged it will be rigged. Money is the root of all evil. I've talked many a friends and family from cutting back on the lottery and using those funds to enjoy living not just gambling. I say play wisely because there is that very very slim chance of winning. The Lottery is in the business for Revenue not to increase the consumers chances of winning.

3/25/2019 10:40 - Willie K.

Lottery/ question. I have been entering my ticket for drawing for 5 years now but haven't won. How does nclottery pull names NC Lottery
Hi Willie, Sorry to hear you aren't having more luck. Each entry is assigned a random number and then a Random Number Generator selects a number.

3/23/2019 12:36 - Kyle E.

The people who post about the odds being fake, the lottery being rigged, the lottery computers and/or people knowing where the winning tickets are, and so on never offer a shred of evidence to back up their accusations. Do some lottery people cheat? Of course they do, just like people do in every other industry you can think of but they also get caught and prosecuted. The lottery and it's employees have **far** more to lose than they could ever gain by cheating. It's never anyone's "turn" to win anything, all wins are just chance and luck. Not winning doesn't mean anything's "rigged" to benefit others.

3/16/2019 09:21 - Beverly R.

Michael M makes good points. But with the paltry 1 or 2 percent (and sometimes less) interest banks offer on savings, money market, and CD accounts nowadays, it's a crying shame. Add that to the cost of living going 75 mph while your wages coast along at 55 mph and it's no wonder people spend a few extra dollars on lottery.

3/16/2019 12:12 - nc s.

The odds are all completely fabricated. Draw games are controlled by computer written code-FACT. It's how many lottery employees have been found guilty of rigging the system. It is not truly random. Scratch off odds stated are on all tickets printed that'll never go out in circulation which means those numbers provided by the lottery are false. The odds listed by the lottery are way off. The computer controlled number generator can and is programmed to have winners when and were the lottery wants. The Lottery says it's odds are accurate so what are the odds of the same individual winning the same massive amount at the same store? I think the old saying comes into play-It's not what you know but who you know when it comes to a lot of these winners. They're listing these how do videos because so many are questioning the integrity of the lottery-which anyone whose not so gullible would.

3/15/2019 07:48 - NC Lottery

@MICHAEL M.: Well said, Michael. The lottery is meant to be a fun form of entertainment, not a means for solving financial problems. Here's a link to the video we made about scratch-off odds last week:

3/15/2019 07:40 - Michael M.

Next make a post for scratch off games. The simple fact being that a ticket may have 1 in 3 overall odds does not mean that buying 3 tickets in a row would guarantee a winning ticket or two losing tickets. There are packs that are probably loaded with losing tickets as well as packs loaded with winning tickets. Buying an entire pack of tickets does not guarantee any profit. It just increases the likelihood that you run across that big winner, but even then it is still an extremely small increase. Buying an entire pack is a large purchase that is much more likely to have negative effects. I've noticed some people think of buying lottery tickets as an investment. More games played does not increase your odds for future games. All lottery games are based purely on luck of the draw. If you want to make a profitable investment there are better routes to take than playing the lottery. Savings, CoDs, etc. Play because you enjoy the game, but don't expect anything, good or bad, from playing.

3/15/2019 06:46 - Mary H.

Very interesting :)

3/14/2019 10:52 - Amit S.

Are there any plans to buy Pick 4 & Pick 3 tickets online using the mobile application?NC Lottery
Hey Amit, At this time, we do not have any plans to add Pick 3 and Pick 4 to online play. We will be sure to let our players here on the blog know if that ever changes.

3/14/2019 08:48 - Richard B.

This video was really helpful in understanding how the odds work. I look forward to winning one day soon!

3/14/2019 05:21 - Schmeka w.

its still rigged no matter what you say,the odds are nothing because you all no exactly how many people is playing a number and if it is so random then how do triples come out back to back like that there is no way. yall are placing those balls in the machine some have different air pressure and how do we know for sure that all these balls are being put into the machine there a'int no odds yea the odds are y'all taking people money and playing with people minds.way to go ncel no wonder y'all driving these fancy cars somebody is sticking their hand in the money

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