What is Lotto Betting?
Sites offering online lotteries fall roughly into two categories: lottery resellers and those organizing lotto betting.
Lottery resellers or lotto agents act as an intermediary between players and official ticket sales. They purchase the lottery ticket as chosen by the player, and keep it for them until the results are in. This is why they are sometimes also called messenger services.
Lottery resellers make their profit by charging a premium on top of official ticket prices or a fee for their service.
Online sites offering lotto betting on the other hand, do not purchase the ticket at all. Instead, the cost of the ticket goes to the operator, and the operator is in turn responsible for paying out the potential winnings.
Smaller wins are paid out directly, as part of normal cost of operation. Just like they would be in sports betting or other forms of gambling. These sites make their profit from the margin that exists in all lottery payouts.
To cover massive jackpots, lotto betting bookmakers purchase a special type of insurance. This is a requirement to gain a reputable gaming license, such as that of the Malta Gaming Authority or the UK Gambling Commission.
When betting through a reliable, licensed site, there is no need to worry about their capability to pay in case of a jackpot.
Often lotto betting sites and online casinos offering these bets, use specialized third party lottery game distributors. LottoWarehouse is one example of these services. Therefore you might encounter very similar lottery games across many sites.
This is similar to how casino games like slots are not run by the casinos themselves, but instead by game providers such as Microgaming , Play n’ Go and many others.
There are online lottery sites that are something of a mix between lottery resellers and bookmakers. Some products are actual, official tickets, while other lotteries on the same site are offered as a form of betting.
How to play and how do you win?
Usually, the win structure in lotto betting reflects that of the official draw. If you match the numbers of the official draw, you win the same amount you would have won if you bought the actual ticket.
In most cases, there is little difference from a player perspective. Some may even not know they are not taking part in the official draw!
The gameplay is also very similar to filling out an actual ticket, although some lotto betting sites do add optional extra features.
Let’s illustrate this by an example. First, here is an official online German Eurojackpot ticket, as offered by Westdeutsche Lotterie GmbH:
Next, we have a lotto betting version of the same game. This example picture is from a popular site Multilotto:
As you can see, the basic gameplay is exactly the same, you pick five standard and two extra numbers. The correct numbers and the payout structure match that of the official draw the week you participate.
However, as you may notice, the Multilotto version has an extra feature called jackpot boost. With this option chosen, the jackpot rises to 90 million euros! Although of course, the price of the ticket is then higher as well.
Betting on lottery numbers
One form of lotto betting is placing wagers on specific numbers or other aspects of the draw. This might be called lottery specials, or a similar term, and is most often offered by traditional bookmaker sites focused on sports betting.
You may bet on the first number drawn, big numbers, odd or even numbers, even whether there is a single jackpot winner and so on. Only the imagination of the bookmaker is the limit here.
This is a somewhat a different style of game, as the official prize structure of the lottery no longer has anything to do with the amount of won. Instead, each bet is paid out according to the fixed odds on offer.
There are usually no million to one odds in these types of lotto bets. The odds reflect the likelihood of the events, minus the margin of the bookmaker.
Therefore these types of bets are most suitable for the casual bettor, who is not looking to hit the rare jackpot, but maybe wants to add some excitement to the draw.
Advantages of lotto betting
One clear advantage of lotto betting is the ease of access and simplicity of the payouts. Many official lotteries restrict participating only to residents of that country or at least require the winner to personally claim the winnings.
Reputable lottery agents do assist their players in this process, but still, some might prefer the clarity of lotto betting: the company you play at is responsible for paying you the prize money (through insurance if necessary).
Lottery bets and taxation
Tax issues also come into play. In the case of lotto betting, taxes are determined by your country of residence, and winnings are not usually taxed at the source. Tax laws of the country where the actual draw takes place have no effect, as you have not purchased an official ticket.
The situation is sometimes a bit more complicated. Some lottery sites mainly offer lotto betting, but for the games with the largest potential payouts, such as US Powerball and Megamillions, actually buy official tickets.
Practices regarding this vary across lotto betting companies. Unfortunately, some are not too clear in explaining the exact process to their customers. Often, it is formulated something along these lines: payouts reflect the actual cash amount the player would have won if participating in the lottery itself. Meaning, the taxes are taken off the top.
Lottery betting extras
Another advantage of lottery betting is the various extra features on offer. Lottery ticket resellers are limited to the prize structure of the official draw, while companies offering betting may add extras like the jackpot boost mentioned before.
With lotto betting, there might even be no need to wait for rollovers, as some companies offer the chance to win the maximum jackpot every week!
There are even online lotteries that do not have any traditional, official counterpart. The Bitcoin Lottery is an example of such innovation. Games like this can only be played through these portals.
Should I go with a lottery agent or lotto betting?
Some players enthusiastic about a certain lottery might want to get an actual ticket through a reseller, as it feels more “true”. On the other hand lotto betting often offers many extra features. And, depending on the site, may offer reduced ticket prices as well.
We here at Top Lotteries review both types of sites. In the end, it comes down to individual player preference. Both forms of online lottery are offered by legitimate services, and both hold the potential for huge jackpots.