Annuity Lottery Games
Annuity lotteries offer an alternative to those that offer big one-off jackpots, giving players the chance to win prizes that pay out over months, years, or even the rest of their life. Use this page to learn all about annuity lotteries and find information about the UK's own annuity game, Set For Life.
How Do Annuity Lotteries Work?
An annuity lottery is a type of game that pays prize money out to winners gradually over a period of time, rather than in one lump sum. The term “annuity” comes from the fact that these types of games pay out a certain sum on an annual basis. Some games offer monthly, weekly, or sometimes even daily payments, but they all fall under the banner of annuity lotteries.
These lotteries are otherwise played similarly to those that offer big lump sum jackpots. You still have to choose a set of numbers and you still have to match them with those drawn to win anything. Some, such as Powerball and Mega Millions in the United States, actually offer winners the choice between taking jackpot prizes as a lump sum or as an annuity to be paid over a number of years. Others, such as Set For Life in the UK, strictly state that the top prizes must be taken as annuities.
What Are the Benefits of Annuities?
An annuity lottery provides some advantages over a standard game in which the winner just receives a one-off payment:
One of the dangers of receiving a jackpot prize as a lump sum is you might spend it all in one go. There is less risk of doing so with annuity lotteries, as the prize payments are spread over a period of time, giving you a steady income and the opportunity to plan what you’re going to do with the money without the temptation of spending the huge sum sat in your bank account.
The rules are different for each game, but in current annuity lotteries the payments will just switch to the family of a winner for a designated period of time if they die. In Set For Life, for example, the rules state that any outstanding money will be paid to the winner’s estate as a lump sum.
Fixed Jackpot Amounts
Annuity lotteries such as Lucky For Life and Set For Life have fixed jackpot amounts in each draw, regardless of ticket sales and whether the top prize was won in the previous game. Compare this to the likes of EuroMillions where, if the jackpot is won, the top prize for the next draw automatically resets to €17 million, normally a much lower figure compared to the previous game.
Odds of Winning
The chances of winning prizes on an annuity lottery are often far better than the odds of landing a jackpot on other games. For example, your chances of winning the Set For Life jackpot are 1 in 15 million, considerably better than EuroMillions’ 1 in 139 million odds and the 1 in 45 million chance of winning big in Lotto.
Examples of Annuity Lotteries
The lure of a guaranteed income for the foreseeable future makes annuity games very appealing to many players, and the format remains as popular as ever. Here are some of the most notable examples from around the world.
Set For Life (UK)
Set For Life was launched by the UK National Lottery in early 2019 in a bid to attract new players by offering a different form of payout that wasn’t currently available to its players. It offers fixed annuity payments of £10,000 each month for 30 years to jackpot winners who match all six numbers, and £10,000 per month for one year to those who match five main numbers. You can find more information on the Set For Life page.
Cash4Life, a multi-state lottery in the US, offers lucky winners in the top two prize tiers a choice of receiving annuity payments or a lump sum. Jackpot winners who match all six numbers can opt for the annuity prize of $1,000 a day for life, or a $7 million lump sum. Ticket holders who match all five main numbers can choose between annuity payments of $1,000 each week for life, or a $1 million one-off prize.
Gagnant à Vie (Canada)
There are nine prizes to be won in the Canadian Gagnant à Vie draw, including the jackpot payout for those who match all six main numbers. Jackpot winners have a choice between receiving annuity payments of $1,000 per week for life, or a lump sum of $1 million. Charlie Lagarde had this very dilemma following her 18th birthday, and the lucky ticket holder opted for annuity payments after meeting with a financial advisor.