The Swiss lottery makes many more millionaires than the stock market. Last weekend there was a jackpot of 20.4 million Swiss francs – around 21 million dollars – to be won. However, it requires players to match six numbers from the draw and one lucky number. Many people are tempted to buy tickets and spend up to 10 francs or more; however, it is foolish to do so. Instead, they should invest their money in the stock market. Although unwise, more people play the lottery than invest in the stock market. Why is that?
In 2018, Swiss lottery and gaming events generated sales of around CHF 2.87 billion. This means that many people dream of winning the jackpot; it’s something they see as a simpler life. Converted to the total population of Switzerland, this corresponds to CHF 337 per inhabitant. In German-speaking Switzerland, between 200,000 and 1.7 million people buy lottery tickets for each draw. Despite the fact that this is a loss-making business costing $110 per year per capita, players still win an average of CHF 227 per capita.
Compared to buying lottery tickets, investing in the stock market has a much higher probability of success. With a diversified basket of Swiss equities, the probability of success is 66% three out of four years. However, far fewer people invest than buy lottery tickets, likely due to the odds of winning in the low single digits.