We as lottery players are pretty much a greedy sort if you tear us down to our fundamental desires. Let’s face it, we basically buy lottery tickets for the sole purpose of winning the jackpot. So when we don’t win it, we are pretty much disappointed even if we won some other prize. But why? There are so many other prizes to be won, including free plays. Why aren’t we excited about that? Really, who cares about free plays, right? A free play is not a million dollars, and it’s not the huge jackpot that we want to win.
And that’s exactly how some players think. “Wow, a free play. Big deal. Who cares?” Well you know what? We all should care. Winning a free play actually is a big deal! A free play is tantamount to a free ticket. A gift you received from a friend. A unsigned ticket found lying helplessly in the street. Or perhaps a very generous retailer who gives you your money back along with your free ticket. Free is free and should be enjoyed the same as winning $5.00 or 5 million dollars.
Think about it hard. If you win a free play, it means you really have beaten the odds against winning, and have actually won a prize! Most people don’t win anything on lottery draws, but you actually won something. Rejoice in the fact that fate shined on you, if not for a cash prize, then for another free chance at one. A free play is actually a gift of a free ticket good for the next draw for that game that you did not have to buy.
With some free plays, you can either replay the same numbers or you can get the terminal to randomly generate brand new ones for you. You are not locked in to playing any particular set or individual numbers, although some operators and regulators require that the same number combination be replayed on the free ticket. However, that really doesn’t matter at all. As the draw numbers are generated or pulled randomly, whatever numbers you use all have an equal chance of matching the draw numbers.
Also, nothing else at all changes for you with a free play. Some players feel that free plays don’t have the same odds or chance as purchased tickets do. How wrong they are. Free plays are simply that. They have the same odds as purchased tickets of winning any prize, and are not different in any way to purchased tickets. So your free ticket could get you the jackpot, nothing at all, or any one of the other prizes in the tier, including another free ticket.
As for the operator, they don’t really lose any money by providing free plays as prizes. First you have to match the free play draw result, such as getting 2 or 3 numbers out of the six or seven that were drawn, or match zero numbers but have to match the bonus number. The draw prize structure takes into account the total number of possible free plays that can be won, the total cost of the tickets if they were purchased, and apply this to the total amount of money collected from all ticket purchases. Even if every single free play prize is won, the monetary total is only a small fraction of the total amount going back into total prize money. So free plays do not incur any actual “loss” of income.
So next time you play the lottery, and you win a free play, be happy and joyful about it. Realize you beat the odds. Sign your ticket, cash it in, and you have either a ticket that you now don’t have to buy, or an additional ticket to go along with your purchased ones. And if you win the jackpot on a free play ticket, your proverbial boat has arrived at your dock.