Competitions
Reporter: Helen Wellings

It's a chance and for most Australians every week it's worth those few dollars for a lottery ticket or a few minutes to fill in an competition entry.

Craig Seitam has created some of Australia's biggest competitions, and now this leading authority is giving away his secrets on how they work ... helping you to win.

"Some winning tips - the first thing to look for is a competition that requires effort. If that requires the purchase of a product or even a words or less question, the prize hogs hate them."

Faye Sinclair is Prize Hog, a competition junkie entering up to 80 competitions a week for 33 years. She's won televisions, sporting goods, toys, vouchers, video game systems. Overall, she's snared around half a million dollars worth of prizes.

"This is the big one, this is the biggest prize I've won yet. a Toyota Kluger worth over $40,000."

Over the years Craig's seen all the tricks.

"The thick hog will try and stuff an envelope full of cotton wool so it appears heavier or bigger when your hand touches it. So they are likely to pull that one out of the bag... the Scattergun Hog places lots of entries for the same competition on alternate days, the idea being that their multiple entries won't be detected as they go" says Craig.

Andrew Limbner wins around 1 in 50 competitions he enters a week - his booty includes plasma TV's, phones, X-box, even a sporting package.

We're surrounded by opportunities to win, competitions on radio, TV, internet, mobile phones, supermarkets and magazines.

"Magazines are filled with competition opportunities. If you want to win something for your home such as kitchen or bathroom, fridges appliances, home mags are the best places to go... men's magazines are great because not many men enter competitions, so there is more chance of winning. Magazines like That's Life are competition heaven. Look at this page lots and lots of competitions cameras, glasses, books, DVDs, absolutely anything."

Craig's golden rule for winning - read the fine print terms and conditions - you could be wasting your time.

"One thing you have to be careful of is that the competition hasn't finished before you buy the product."

And lotteries - with a $1 Scratchie 1 in 5 tickets will be a winner, a $10 Scratchie your chances increase to 1 in 3.5.

"If you want to win $25, $30 million, you have to play the big games and they are the Lottos, the Powerballs and so on." Statistician, Professor John Croucher, Monash University Graduate School of Management, has crunched the numbers. Lotto, Tattslotto, 6 from 45, gives you a 1 in 8 million chance. Oz Lotto is 7 from 45, about 1 in 43 million. Powerball is about 1 in 55 million.

Shorter odds - a $2 Jackpot lottery gives you a 1 in 11 or 12 million chance. Lotto Strike, 1 in 3 or 4 million. The Pools - also 1 in 3 or 4 million with a single entry.

Careful, some competitions are a ruse to get your personal details to on-sell to a central data base. Others trick you into providing a fee, or worse, your banking information to claim your prize.

Craig Seitam's advice on checking a competition's legitimate.

"Make sure there is an advertised start date, end date prize pool, description and a date of announcement of the winner."