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How life changing is winning the lottery?

It may be safe to say that the majority of people fantasize about winning the lottery due to its life-changing capability, which is why roughly half of Americans [1] About Half of Americans Play State Lotteries buy at least one lottery ticket per year in the hopes of winning big.

Unfortunately, the majority will never experience winning big on the lotto, with the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot being one in 292.2 million [2] How To Win The Lottery million. To put that into context, you are nearly 60 times more likely to be struck by lightning (one in 500,000 chance [3] Lightning Strike Victim Data Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to dream and contemplate about how this life-changing occurrence would impact your life and the people around you.

We spoke to over a thousand U.S. residents to get their thoughts on how winning the lotto would affect them, revealing that people may actually have more to lose than to win.

Key statistics:

Women who earn between $25k - $50k are the lottery's most prominent players

When analyzing who played the lottery most frequently, women took the top spot playing 35% more than men. We found 86% of women played three or more games per week as opposed to a much lower 56% of men playing to the same degree.

When looking at the correlation between lottery players and earnings, we found that those who earned around $25,000 - $49,999 play more frequently than any other earning group, with half (51%) playing 3+ games per week as opposed to almost one in five (18%) of those earning $1 - $9,999 playing as often.

49% of players believe they’ll someday win big on the lottery

Interestingly, we also found that almost half of lottery players (49%) believed that they would someday win the lottery, with men (55%) being the strongest believers that they would win big one day, as opposed to 43% of women.

Half of players say the lottery is the only way to try to change their life

When looking at why Americans polled play the lottery, we found that more than nine out of ten people (96%) play with the intention of “winning big.” Our results also found that half (50%) of people believed winning the lottery was the only way they could see their lives changing.

This belief was found highest among lottery players aged 45-54, over four-fifths (85%), and highest among men, with over four in five (84%) believing this statement to be true. Despite the very low odds (one in 292.2 million) of winning the lottery, our results suggest that this feels more achievable than becoming a millionaire without winning the lottery (one in 32).

We also found it interesting to see that over seven out of 10 people (71%) play the lottery to enjoy the thrill, which may correlate to the gambling crisis the U.S is currently facing [4] NCRG Fact Sheet Gambling Disorders According to the National Center For Reasonable Gaming, approximately 1% of adults in the United States have a severe gambling problem.

Almost two in five (37%) respondents believe they have a higher chance of seeing an alien than winning the lottery

We put Americans' faith to the test by asking whether they felt they had a higher chance of experiencing a range of potential occurrences when compared to winning the lottery.

Results showed that almost two in five (37%) felt they had a higher chance of seeing an alien than striking it lucky on the lottery. We also found that four in five Americans (80%) believed they had a larger probability of being struck by lightning (one in 500,000 chance [3] Lightning Strike Victim Data, a three in five (61%) believing they were more likely to be involved in a plane crash (one in 11 million [5] The Deadliest Plane Crash | How Risky Is Flying?, and over half (52%) believe they are more likely to be attacked by a shark (one in 5 million [6] What are the chances of being attacked by a shark in the US? than winning big on the lottery.

Still, it turns out that people may be right to think this way, as Americans have a one in 292.2 million chance of winning the lottery [2] How To Win The Lottery, making it an extremely rare life event to happen.

Almost one in ten respondents would keep the news of winning the lottery to themselves. 

When asking lottery players who they would reveal the big news to first, almost two-thirds (61%) stated they would only share this with selected friends and family as opposed to one in 12 (8.4%) who would reveal the news to all friends and family.

When diving into age groups, we found that 18-24-year-olds would be the most cautious, with over a third (34.4%) stating they would only share with certain family and friends. We also found that 18-24-year-olds would be most inclined to keep the news of winning to themselves than any other age group.

Separately, we found that those aged 25-34 and 65+ were among the most comfortable sharing the news of their winnings with one in six (15%) in each age group stating they would share the news with all friends and family.

A shocking one in ten (9.7%) stated that they would keep the news of their winnings to themselves, showing a lack of trust among friends and family when it comes to money. Men would be more inclined to keep the news to themselves, with one in ten (10.8%) admitting they would as opposed to one in 12 (8.6%) of women admitting the same.

One in three (31.5%) respondents would pay off their debt first should they ever win the lottery.

We asked respondents what they would do first should they win a life-changing amount of money. We found that the majority (31.5%) would first pay off their debts, which isn’t surprising as the average American reportedly has $90,460 in debt [7] Average American Debt by Age

In a world where some of us live our lives online, only 1.3% of respondents stated that they would share the news on social media as the first thing they do after finding out about their winnings, showcasing how the majority of people may not feel comfortable with people knowing about their winnings, potentially helping to explain why our results showed that one in 20 (5.2%) people would run away and keep their winnings a secret.

When asking respondents what they would do with their winnings in general, we found that two-fifths (39.4%) would share their winnings with friends and family as opposed to one in six (14.2%) who stated they would spend all or the majority of their winnings for themselves.

We also saw an interesting contrast of one in three (30.1%) stating they would donate to charity as opposed to another third (30%) who would keep a large amount of money in their bank.

Cosmetic surgery was also high on the list of things to do should lottery players ever win the lottery with more than a quarter of people (26.7%) admitting that would get surgery, 26.4% stated they would think about it and 47% stated that they wouldn’t.

When it came to investments, respondents had big plans to ensure their winnings would generate more income. Almost one in four (23%) stated they would invest in property, one in six (14.8%) would plan to invest in the stock market, one in 20 (5.1%) would invest in cryptocurrency, and one in 12 (8.5%) would start a business.

The majority of lotto players believe they would have control over winnings

Despite the fact 70% of lottery winners end up broke or bankrupt after winning the lottery [8] 13 Things Lotto Winners Won't Tell You: Life After Winning the Lottery, over four in five (84.3%) of Americans believed they would have good control over their winnings as opposed to almost one in 20 (4.7%) believing they would need someone to look after their winnings.

How winning the lottery would change people's relationships

Three in five (62.7%) believe winning the lottery would change their current friendships

When asking respondents whether winning the lottery would change their friendships, the majority (62.7%) believed that winning would have an impact on their personal relationships.

Men were found to be more certain about the lotto changing existing friendships than women, with over two-thirds of men (67.6%) believing it would have an impact, as opposed to almost three in five women (59%).

Nine in ten (90.2%) believe they would need to be careful when making new friends if they won the lottery

The majority of respondents (90.2%) felt they would need to be cautious of new friendships should they ever win the lottery, highlighting the impact a financial win could have on our mental wellbeing and daily lives.

Over two in five respondents (42.8%) also stated that they wouldn't trust new people in case they were being used for their money.

47% would consider leaving their partner should they ever win the lottery

Money can play a big part in many relationships and the survey results show many people would consider leaving their romantic partner should their financial status be impacted by a lottery win. 

In fact, three in five lottery players (61.1%) believe winning the lottery would make them more attractive in general, and this new found confidence could impact their existing romantic relationships.

As a potential result of winning the lottery, we found that nearly half (47.4%) would leave or consider leaving their partners should they ever win the lottery. 

Men were 13% more likely to end a relationship after winning in comparison to women, with almost two in five men (39.2%) stating so, as opposed to more than one in four (26%) of women stating the same.

Almost nine in ten lottery players believe that winning the lottery would make them happier

Despite survey results indicating that nearly half would consider changing their romantic relationships and view any new friendships we make cautiously, it seems like the majority may still believe that winning big could be the key to solving their life problems.

Almost nine in ten (86%) think that winning the lottery would make them happier as opposed to a very small 3% believing it wouldn't and 11% believing it wouldn't change their lives much.

This highlights the false perception lottery players have of winning the lottery and how it would change their lives for the better, but our evidence suggests that for some lottery players, when considering some key aspects of their lives, this wouldn’t actually be the case.


To understand lottery players' views on winning, we surveyed 1,237 respondents across the U.S. to find out how winning the lotto would impact their lives.

Respondents were surveyed between February 25 and March 2, 2022, using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk survey platform. Questions were asked relating to lottery players' current lottery habits and their views on how winning big could potentially change relationships, mindsets and their lives in general.




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