Ireland Flag Made of SpheresThe Irish Lottery has seen a huge increase in its popularity over the last few years. The concept of the Irish Lottery is very different to that of the National Lottery. For a start, you are actually betting on the odds of the balls coming out, which are fixed odds. This unlike the National Lottery, where you get a dividend of the prize money should you match the corresponding numbers that have been drawn.

Whilst both the National Lottery and the Irish Lottery are forms of gambling, the Irish Lottery is actually betting, due to their fixed odds for payouts and the fact your betting on the likelihood of something happening or not. It’s worth pointing out that the Irish National Lottery works in a similar way to our national Lottery. What the bookies do for the Irish Lotto that you find online and in shop is to take the numbers that are drawn and offer you fixed odds on them.

There are also a lot more variations of the game compared to the National Lottery, more of which we will discuss within this article.

How it Works

Betfred Irish Lotto Number Selector

You are required to pick 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 numbers between 1 and 47. You’ll need all the numbers that you pick to be drawn in order to win. So, if you pick one number, you just need that number to be drawn. If you pick two, you’ll need both to be drawn in order to win and so on. As we mentioned above, unlike the National Lottery, the amount you win is fixed depending on how many numbers you have picked. The more numbers you pick, the higher your odds and therefore your potential returns.

One of the main benefits of the Irish Lottery is that you can choose what stake you have on these fixed odds rather than a set £2 as with the National Lottery. You may for example like to stake a higher amount of just one or two numbers being drawn with a smaller stake on 3, 4 or 5 numbers drawn as the odds will increase greatly.

6 Number & 7 Number Draws

Ladbrokes Irish Lotto Draw SelectorDuring the draw for the Irish Lottery, 7 numbers in total will be drawn. More specifically these are 6 numbers plus a bonus ball. This is important because you can choose whether your numbers will count for the first six drawn or if they will count for the six numbers plus the bonus ball. The key difference is that if you pick the 6 number draw, the odds are higher than the 7 number draw as there are less chances for the numbers to come out. If you pick the 7 number draw, you have an extra bonus chance for one of your numbers to be drawn but the cost is a reduction in your odds.

What Are the Odds?

The table below shows a comparison of  the fixed odds for 1 to 5 numbers for both the 6 and 7 number draws. Remember, you can choose how many numbers you would like to bet on being drawn but they will all need to be drawn for you to win if placing a straight single bet, much like an accumulator football bet.

Number of
Balls Picked
6 Number Draw Odds
(without bonus ball)
7 Number Draw Odds
(with bonus ball)
1 6/1 5/1
2 60/1 40/1
3 700/1 375/1
4 8,500/1 4,500/1
5 150,000/1 45,000/1

The draw then takes place with 6 numbers being produced from that draw. With the remaining 41 numbers that are now left in the pot, the draw will pull out one more number which will be declared the bonus ball.

When are the Draws and How Many Are There?

Coral Irish Lotto Draw SelectorThe draws are made each week on a Wednesday and Saturday, at around 8pm. On both Wednesday and Saturday there are three draws, a main draw, second draw and a third draw. The draws for the main draw will take place first and this will be followed up by the second and third draws, respectively.

These are additional draws that you can you play alongside the main draw for added money. It works by simply keeping your current numbers and then making two fresh draws for these. Your bets won’t automatically enter all the draws, they would need to be placed as separate bets but you can choose to bet in any or all of them.

Pick 3, Match 3

Ladbrokes Irish Lotto 3 Ball Betting Slip

When looking at the Irish Lottery, the number of options available can be a little daunting. One of the most popular bets however involves simply picking three numbers for one or all of the draws. If all three of your numbers are drawn, the returns from the 6 number draw would typically be £701 for a £1 stake. If betting on the 7 number draw, which includes the bonus ball, your return would typically be £376 for a £1 stake.

The reason this is such a popular bet is the comparison to the National Lottery, where three numbers will only return £25, albeit from the six numbers you have chosen. You also won’t be in with the chance of winning a big jackpot with the Irish Lotto but many see picking their three favourite numbers for a big return as better value overall.

Multiple & Perm Bets

Ladbrokes Irish Lotto Multiples Betting Slip

What’s probably the most interesting part of the Irish Lottery is that, as it’s essentially betting, you can incorporate it into other bets as well. These are mainly the likes of full cover bets, such as Yankee’s and Canadians, working in the same way that it would for any other bet type.

A patent is one of the most popular bet types for this kind of thing, where you pick three numbers to be drawn out in the lottery with your bookmaker. Let’s run through a quick example.

We place a £1 patent on picking 3 numbers out, we choose 6, 15 and 21. Our bet, as it’s a patent, is broken down into 7 separate bets:

  • £1 on 6 @ 6/1
  • £1 on 15 @ 6/1
  • £1 on 21 @ 6/1
  • £1 on 6 and 15 @ 53/1
  • £1 on 6 and 21 @ 53/1
  • £1 on 15 and 21 @53/1
  • £1 on 6, 15 and 21 @ 700/1

So, for this bet our total stake is £7, but we only need 1 number from our three to more or less break us even. If we manage to hit 2 or even 3 numbers, then we are heading for some very decent profit.

This formula can be adapted for pretty much all full cover bets that include up to 6 selections, not including the bonus ball. As you can imagine, the payouts can become huge and much larger than if you were to simply pick numbers for each draw.

How do the Odds Compare to the National Lottery

Lottery Balls

One of the biggest differences between the National Lottery and the Irish Lottery is that for the Irish Lottery the 6 numbers are drawn from from 1-47 to win, whereas with the National Lottery, the 6 numbers are 1-59.

Whilst the increase of one number doesn’t seem an awful lot, it can actually have a massive effect in the overall odds of this happening. So, we know from the table above that the chances of hitting 6 numbers is 1 in 10,737,573.

If we were to increase this number by 1 so that we had 7 numbers to draw against, this would mean our chances increase to a whopping 1 in 62,891,499.

Now, if we start comparing the Irish Lottery to the National Lottery, things start to get quite interesting. It’s worth noting that the numbers of the National Lottery are ranging from 1-59, but you still only need 6 numbers to win the jackpot, even though 7 are drawn including the bonus.

The odds of winning the national lottery are that of 1 in 45,057,474. This is 4.5x greater than the equivalent would be on that of the Irish Lottery.

Just out of interest, let’s say that we reduced the number of balls that were needed for the jackpot in the Irish Lottery to that of 5, we would see our chances increase to that 1 in 1,533,939.