A look at the types of jackpots available
When you buy a lottery ticket, you are playing for the entire amount of prizes available, not just the jackpot. Most lottery games have a tier of prizes that range from the jackpot, all the way down to a free ticket. Though a free ticket is nice to win, we all want to win the jackpot instead. And there are two kinds of lottery jackpots that can be won: static jackpots and progressive jackpots.
Static jackpots are top awards that remain at the same value from draw to draw. For instance, a game could run in which the static jackpot is five million dollars. What this means is that no matter how many tickets are sold, or how much money is taken in in ticket sales, the jackpot for every draw for that game provides a constant top award of five million dollars.
The attractiveness of static jackpot lotteries is that since the jackpot is a set amount for every draw, the fluctuation in ticket sales is very low from draw date to draw date. Players are comfortable in the jackpot amount and prize structure, and are not driven to purchase more or less tickets that they normally do. Static jackpot game tickets usually cost less than progressive jackpot game tickets the odds may be slightly less towards the operator.
On the other hand, progressive jackpots increase in value with the more tickets that are sold or the more money that is taken in. The jackpot may start at one million dollars but, as more tickets are sold, may reach, for example, 2.34 million dollars in value by the draw date….
This makes progressive jackpots attractive because the longer the top award is not won, the higher the jackpot will go. When it reaches a very high amount, the “lotto frenzy” can kick in and people who normally don’t purchase tickets for these types of games, or may only purchase one ticket per draw, now purchase more tickets to hopefully win the huge progressive prize. When the huge jackpot is won, the jackpot reverts to its lower starting point and increases as tickets are sold.
However, ticket sales for progressive lottery jackpots can fluctuate widely and actually cause a “feast or famine” type of situation for the operator. When a progressive jackpot reverts back to its starting point, many people forego purchasing tickets. As such, the operator is obligated to pay for every prize won, even the beginning jackpot, with less money in the pot to cover the winnings, which translates to less money that be considered income and parcelled out to various charitable stakeholders. However, as the jackpot begins to rise, more people buy more tickets. It is a very slow process. When the jackpot reaches a “frenzy” level, ticket sales increase dramatically, income increases dramatically, and there is actually 2-3 times the amount of money that be parcelled off. So the agencies and organizations and school boards that benefit from lottery income now have a sizeable amount of funds that hopefully will tide them over once the jackpot is won and reverts.
Most players on average have their favourite lotteries and usually play both types of jackpot games. They may increase their regular ticket purchases for the progressive game as the jackpot increases, but will still play the game even when the jackpot is won and reverts back to its starting value. They will continue to play the static jackpot lotteries in the same fashion as they always have and neither increase or decrease their spending habit.
Taking all this in, whether you play static or progressive jackpots is a personal choice dictated by jackpot amount and your comfort zone. But whatever game you decide to play, the jackpot amount is not the most important part. The possibility of winning it is.