Everything You Need To Know About Playing the Colorado Lottery

Looking for your chance to win big with the Colorado lottery? Learn the types of games offered, the odds, and so much more here.

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Adam Moelis
Aug 16, 2021
6 min Read

The lottery. It is a dream of individuals who play it to suddenly win millions of dollars. Your problems can go away, you never have to work again, your family will be taken care of.

It is easy to sell the dream, with Colorado alone giving away over $5 billion since it began. You can see the winners, and you can see people's dreams coming true. The logic is, you just never know, right?

Well, not so fast. The Colorado Lottery and others like it are not so simple. The odds of winning some of the biggest prizes advertised are astronomical.

So, what can you do? What games do you have a better chance of winning? This is how to play the Colorado Lottery.

Colorado Lottery Games Available

There are several Colorado Lottery games available at your disposal to choose from. The most popular games available are:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Lucky for Life
  • Colorado Lotto
  • Cash 5
  • Pick 3
  • Scratch-Offs

The first two are national lottery games and thus have the most people competing with the highest odds of winning it all. The Powerball and the Mega Millions both require you to pick six numbers that all need to come out for you to win the jackpot. There are 69-70 numbers possible for the first five balls, and 25-26 numbers possible for the last ball.

As for the state lottery, that is a little simpler. You still need six numbers to come out, but you are only choosing between 40 numbers there. In Lucky for Life, you have 48 numbers to choose from for the first five balls, and 18 numbers to choose from for the last ball.

The Cash 5 and Pick 3 require a little less, with only five and three numbers needed in each game respectively. The scratch-off rules vary based on the game, but normally requiring matching numbers or symbols on the ticket to win.

As for drawings, the Powerball and state lottery are drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Mega Millions are Tuesdays and Fridays. The rest are seven days a week, with the Pick 3 drawing twice per day.

Know the Payouts

Did you know that in Colorado, only 55.5% of the overall sales are paid out in lottery prizes? This means that if the state sells $10 million in lottery tickets for a period of time, a little over $5 million of that will be given back to the people.

If you think about it, that is even less if someone takes cash instead of annuity payments. Cash payments are usually 50% of what the total cash prize is, so the overall prize given out would go down to 27.75%.

To be fair, the state lottery can pay out millions of dollars if you win with the jackpot high enough and you are usually guaranteed at least $250,000.

The Pick 3 pays $250 per 50 cents bet if you win, and the Cash 5 awards you $20,000 if you hit it. As for scratch-offs, the top prizes vary from anywhere as low as $50 to as high as $3 million.

As for Lucky for Life, the grand prize there is $1,000 a day for life or $365,000 per year. The runner-up prize is not too shabby either, with $25,000 per year being offered.

So, you have to determine for yourself if the odds of winning those prizes are worth the payouts.

Know the Odds

It is important to remember the odds of winning. Yes, there are big prizes, but the odds of winning the jackpot (the advertised prizes) in the Colorado Lottery are 1 in 3,838,380.

In other words, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning 30 times than winning the Colorado Lottery jackpot.

Most of the other games are not much better. The Cash 5 has odds of 1 in 201,376 for you to match all five numbers. The Pick 3 is slightly more reasonable, with 1 in 1,000 odds of you getting the numbers in the exact order.

The best odds of at least breaking even are without a doubt from scratch-offs. Your odds there can range anywhere from 1 in 2.5 to 1 in 5 depending on what game you are playing.

This minimizes your risk of losing money in the long run, but your payouts are most likely going to be very minimal.

In terms of Lucky for Life, the odds of winning the top life prize is 1 in 30,821,472. But, that is not the longest odds.

That belongs to the Mega Millions, with the odds there reaching about 1 in 302,000,000. However, the Powerball is right behind it, with odds as high as 1 in 292,000,000.

In other words, most of these games have very long odds of you ever seeing a significant return from them. You can hope for a dream, but statistically, the odds are just not in your favor.

Other Rules

For the national lottery games and the state lottery, there is a multiplier bonus involved with smaller prizes. So, if you do not hit the jackpot, you can still have the chance to earn a decent payout.

Let's say you get five of the numbers in the Mega Millions. That would already be a $1 million base prize. But, if the multiplier comes out to 5x, that prize goes up to $5 million!

In these games, the non-jackpot prizes can go up from 2-5x the base prize depending on what is drawn. The Powerball even goes up to 10x. So, check your numbers carefully, because even having two of them come out can be worth more than you paid for the ticket.

Even a smaller game like the Pick 3 has a lot of ways that you can win money. For instance, you do not have to have numbers come out in the exact order. Instead, you can bet them to come out in ANY order.

There is also the chance to be paid for the front and back pair numbers. So, let's say you play 123. If 126 comes out, you can get paid for hitting the first two. If 423 comes out, you can get paid for hitting the last two numbers.

The jackpot is not the only way to get paid out in a lottery game, so ready the rules carefully.

Win More Than the Lottery

You might be the type of person that likes long odds for big prizes in some of the Colorado Lottery games. But, maybe you are the type of person that wants better odds of receiving money without risking anything?

If so, register here and find out how you can win weekly prizes by doing so.

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