Lotto: where does the tipster’s money go?

People in EU have been playing the lottery since 1955. Every year, around seven billion euros are turned over nationwide in traditional state gambling. In the past "Corona year", the game with the six correct numbers was particularly popular. The Hessischer Rundfunk (hr) asked itself in a current TV report where the tipsters' money actually goes.

Lotto: where does the tipster's money go

The probability of picking not only the six winning numbers correctly, but also the super number in the lottery, is 1 in 139,838,160. In other words, the chance of winning is 0.000000715%. Accordingly, every online casino and every online game library offers significantly higher chances of winning. However, you can usually not win an amount of several million euros here. An exception is the legendary Mega Moolah jackpot, which was only recently cracked at a stand of over 19.4 million euros.

The payout rate for the lottery is only 50%

The Hessischer Rundfunk (hr) published a report a few days ago with the title “Lottery income: where does the money go?”. First of all, it is mentioned here that only half of the lottery sales are paid back to the players in the form of profit distributions. Accordingly, the payout ratio (RTP) for the lottery is in principle only 50%. In our guide on the topic of payout rates, we show that the average payout amount is significantly higher for all casino games. This is between 92 and 98% for slot machines in online casinos and around 97.3% for roulette.

More beneficiaries of the lottery millions

Many readers will rightly ask themselves who receives the other half of the lottery turnover. In this country it is the case that the lottery acceptance points receive around 7% of sales as commission payment. In addition, the lottery company itself receives around 7% of sales. This share is used to cover marketing, sales and personnel costs, for example.

In addition, the state receives a little more than 16% of sales as lottery tax. The remaining 20% ​​of the lottery sales are also earmarked – for projects in the fields of culture, the environment, social affairs or sports.

Distribution of the lottery money at a glance:

  • 50% profit distribution
  • 20% support for sport, culture, environmental protection and monument protection
  • 16% lottery tax
  • 7% commission for the acceptance point
  • 7% lottery company (e.g. for marketing, personnel)

The highest winnings in the history of the lottery

The biggest lottery win of all time was not that long ago. It wasn’t until October 10, 2020 that a lottery customer from Baden-Württemberg cracked the jackpot and won an impressive 42,583,626.40 euros. In second place is a player from North Rhine-Westphalia, who already won more than 37.6 million euros in 2006. In third and fourth place are players from North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin, who won 37 and 33.8 million euros respectively in 2016 and 2015. By the way, only some time ago we reported on ex-Family Minister Schröder, who was accused of lobbying for state gambling.

What are the odds of winning the lottery?

At the beginning, we already mentioned that the percentage winning probability for six correct numbers plus the super number is 0.000000715%. With a chance of 1 in 140 million, it is of course anything but likely that a player can take home the million jackpot. Nevertheless, not only in Germany, every week many people from different age groups and social classes play the lottery. But what are the chances of winning the lottery apart from the jackpot win?

winning numbersProbability (rounded)
6 Correct and correct super number1 in 140,000,000
6 Correct and correct super number1 in 15.500.000
5 Correct and correct super number1 in 2.330.000
4 Correct and correct super number1 in 22.200
3 Correct and correct super number1 in 812

For comparison: the chance of being struck by lightning is 0.0000167%, about 23 times as high as winning the lottery jackpot. Accidental death while driving is over 59,000 times more likely than taking home the main prize in the lottery (0.0149%).

Lotto vs. online gambling

Of course, the lottery drawing cannot be compared with classic online games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette and the like. Completely different target groups are addressed in each case. The fact is that both forms of gambling can be addictive. Just a few months ago we reported on the “lottery addiction” in which a real estate agent bought lottery tickets for around one million US dollars a week.

Generally speaking, however, casino games offer a higher level of entertainment value. This is because the stakes are divided over many game rounds and there are usually interesting bonus or additional features. With the lottery, only the desired crosses are marked on the lottery ticket and the ticket is then brought to the acceptance point. Nonetheless, there is of course a reason that Lotto has been able to hold its own as a lottery in Germany for such a long period of time. The popularity was particularly impressive in the past “Corona year”. This could also be due to the fact that many lottery outlets were open in lockdown, unlike gambling halls and many other shops.


Even many enthusiastic lottery players will not be aware of who actually earns what amount of money in the lottery business. What is particularly impressive is the fact that only half of the stakes are paid out to customers in the form of winnings. However, this is due on the one hand to the high lottery tax and on the other hand to the fact that the lottery also supports many charitable causes in the fields of culture, sports and the environment. Of course, everyone has to decide for themselves whether they actually want to participate in the lottery with a jackpot chance of around 1 in 140 million. The fact is: the only sure profiteers from the lottery are on the one hand the state and on the other hand acceptance offices as intermediaries.

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