Hi Reddit! I’m Adam Moelis. I'm the co-founder of Yotta, a free app that uses behavioral economics to help people save money by making saving exciting.

For every $25 deposited into an FDIC-insured Yotta account, users get a recurring ticket into our weekly random number drawings with chances to win cash prizes ranging from $0.10 to the $10 million jackpot. Even if you don't win a prize, you still get paid over 2x the national average on your savings (we currently offer a 0.2% savings bonus).

Each ticket has 7 numbers on it and every night at 9pm EST we draw the next number, the more numbers a user matches, the more money they win. Match all 7 and they win the $10M jackpot. The concept is very similar to Powerball or Mega Millions, but unlike the lottery, there’s literally no way you can lose money.

Taking inspiration from savings programs in other countries like Premium Bonds in the UK, we’re on a mission to put state-run lotteries that often act as and are described as a “tax on the poor” out of business while improving the financial health of Americans through evangelizing the benefits of “prize-linked savings accounts” here in the US. A Freakonomics podcast has described prize-linked savings accounts as a "no-lose lottery".

As part of building Yotta, I spent lots of time studying how lotteries (Powerball & Mega Millions) and scratch tickets across the country work, consulting with behind-the-scenes state lottery employees, and working with PhDs on understanding the psychology behind why people play the lottery despite it being such a sub-optimal financial decision.

Ask me anything about lottery odds, the psychology behind why people play the lottery, or about how a no-lose lottery works.

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/totIeWv

Comments: 220 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

Tayacan74 karma

How does Yotta make money?

yottasavings86 karma

We earn interest on our deposits from our partner bank and interchange revenue on debit card spend. Without giving too much away from a competitive perspective, we are working on launching a secured credit card, crypto, credit building tools, and other features that will be revenue generative as well. Stay tuned for a lot of new features and products coming soon!

MrFalcon36 karma

I was never a big lottery player. Five bucks here and there when the pots got astronomical. Been using Yotta for about a year now and I'm totally cured from ever wanting to play the 'real' lottery again because I have now experienced how unlikely you are to ever hit anything big.

I mean that as a positive though but when I tell friends about it, they often think it sounds like a scam. How do YOU convince someone who understands the no-lose lottery conceptually, but still thinks it seems a bit off?

SnacksOnSeedCorn28 karma

FWIW, you will lose far more often on Yotta. $1 wagered is $1 wagered. $1 deposited is 1/52 the interest wagered. That said, you're not "risking" anything, besides opportunity cost. In my experience with Yotta, you're not looking for home runs, but a juiced yield.

yottasavings17 karma

Exactly - you can't lose anything

yottasavings24 karma

It is a big challenge for us to explain the concept and solve the "too good to be true" concern people have. We are constantly trying to get word out there, explain exactly how it works, how it's been a thing in other countries for a long time, and use a lot of social proof to help people get comfortable with it.

It's definitely a challenge and the biggest thing we can do is educate on how it works and why it works.

isthatericmellow33 karma

You say it’s a recurring ticket. Does that mean if I only ever deposit $25 that I have one ticket that is good for every drawing until I withdraw that $25?

yottasavings24 karma

Correct that is exactly right

Security_Chief_Odo18 karma

What's the AVG daily "win" amount for users of your platform ? As in what is the amount in the middle of the bell curve for "winning numbers" ?

yottasavings3 karma

It really depends how much on deposit you have since that drives how many tickets you have so it's impossible to say a generic average that would be meaningful to be honest

Security_Chief_Odo14 karma

A generic average is certainly not impossible to ascertain.

Regardless of tickets, deposits, amounts in the bank etc, what is the average payout that Yotta is responsible for daily.

yottasavings16 karma

Around 1.5% on your deposits is the best way to think about it

spiattalo14 karma

So what’s a simple explanation of the psychology behind lotteries?

yottasavings38 karma

People underestimate the effect of compounding. A few bucks here or there seems like nothing, but over time and over a lifetime investing that few bucks every day really adds up.

We all seek stuff that is instantly gratifying. The daydreaming of winning a huge amount of money is a ton of fun. And that's all well and good but when people find themselves spending just $10 a week on the lottery cause it's not much money. Well over a year that's $500. It adds up and starts to really put a dent in people's financial wellness.

HandHoldingClub11 karma


yottasavings21 karma

Lottery tickets are basically the worst gamble out there odds-wise, because it's monopolized by the government so there is no competition. You're way better off playing casino games or pretty much anything else.

All winnings are sweepstakes winnings which is subject to tax.

HandHoldingClub6 karma


yottasavings3 karma

Yup the lottery is the worst if it all but it's all bad

queen-of-carthage6 karma

If you're a sweepstakes, you're required to have a free method of entry, what is it?

yottasavings6 karma

You can mail in for a free entry. It's noted in our official rules

stonkfreefuture4 karma


yottasavings3 karma

Exactly - you can't lost anything

Toffeemanstan9 karma

Is this available in the UK?

yottasavings12 karma

Not yet unfortunately but we hope to be there eventually!

GlydeBorealis9 karma

Is there a maximum number of tickets you can get per week via deposit?

yottasavings11 karma

100,000 tickets per person per week

BearJetpack8 karma

I feel like I’ve seen a few other apps recently that follow a similar trend of savings account/lottery. What are your thoughts on that? If the market gets saturated with these accounts how would you plan on keeping Yotta more appealing?

yottasavings9 karma

We try to create the most social experience possible so that people have fun on Yotta with their friends. This makes it hard for new companies to compete with us. We also believe our UX and internal product teams are world class and we are always leading the way in terms of innovation and launching new products.

lastweekwastuff8 karma

If I deposited $10m into a yotta account what are the chances I would win the $10m jackpot every week?

yottasavings11 karma

The odds in a given week are 1 in 8 billion per ticket, so 1 in 8 billion to the 52nd power multiplied by the average number of tickets you have would be the chance to win every week in a given year. So if you have an infinite amount of tickets, you might pull it off!

i_am_evarywhere7 karma

Is it better to be in pool play or individual play?

yottasavings14 karma

Comes down to a personal preference.

You have a better chance to win something in pool play, but that something would be a lower amount on average since you split it more.

It's a different type of winning distribution for you basically if you want more frequent wins, play in pools. Plus people have fun in friend groups together, similar to friends who pool lottery tickets, only this is far healthier.

No strategy can change the EV of the prizes to you, but they can change your variance. Join big pools for lower variance.

i_am_evarywhere6 karma

The people that won the Tesla's were in individual play?

yottasavings11 karma

yup, both Tesla winners won on individual tickets not in pool play

ler_lar7 karma

Where does the prize money come from?

Edit: Also, do you publish how often prizes are paid out?

yottasavings7 karma

We earn interest on our deposits from our partner bank and interchange revenue on debit card spend. Without giving too much away from a competitive perspective, we are working on launching a secured credit card, crypto, credit building tools, and other features that will be revenue generative as well. Stay tuned for a lot of new features and products coming soon!

Yeah the prizes are on our website in our official rules

benfranklin237 karma

How do you get around state run lotto monopolies?

yottasavings8 karma

We operate as a sweepstakes and comply with sweepstakes laws, which makes it separate from a lottery

StreetPen2 karma


yottasavings2 karma

You can mail in for entries

TheExiledDragon7 karma

If I buy something for $100 with the Yotta Debit card, how many tickets do I get and are those only good for a week?

yottasavings4 karma

Yeah only good for a week. You would get 10 tickets (on average) for that plus the chance to get that purchase reimbursed

Initial-Philosophy646 karma

Ever seen the documentary “lucky”? It’s all about who actually wins with the American lottery programme.

yottasavings3 karma

No but I'll definitely check it out!

awkwardpause1015 karma

Something I wondered after first hearing about Yotta: What is to stop a gazillionaire from deposit $1B (pinky slowed lifted to corner of mouth) and getting all the tickets/significantly increase the odds of winning?

yottasavings6 karma

Ha- no one would do that for other reasons, but maybe they would win the jackpot? Still would have to get lucky to win it. More revenue in the total pool for everyone to work with as well since we generate interest on the deposits

chewnig5 karma

How is Yotta able to pay out a jackpot? Where does the money come from? How frequent are the Jackpots?

yottasavings3 karma

We partner with an insurance company that funds the jackpot

DouggyDF5 karma

Only available in the USA? What is the interest rate on savings?

yottasavings6 karma

Yeah only the US. On average the rate is typically 1.5%ish right now but it can be higher or lower depending on your lucky

mysixthalt4 karma

Nice idea. How long do people have to hold money in their Yotta account? How do you ensure people are truly saving and not just using this as another lottery fix

yottasavings7 karma

No minimum requirement. We can't "ensure" this really, but if they are using it as the lottery fix that really is the goal because it helps build savings rather than deplete them (like the lottery). We get a lot of feedback from people that this is becoming their lottery fix, which is great

encogneeto3 karma

I feel like I’m missing something. I can re-deposit and withdraw the same $25(n) to enter repeatedly for the same drawing?

yottasavings14 karma

This wouldn't work. If you do that you'll get tickets, lose tickets, get tickets, and it will just cancel out.

oleg-me4 karma

When are you going to open accounts for teens? This is great way to educate soon-to-be adults on savings.

yottasavings5 karma

We allow teens to open accounts now! With a sponsor on the account

oleg-me2 karma

I saw that. Seems a bit convoluted. Should be easier for parents to onboard their kids.

yottasavings3 karma

We're working to make it easier

AnotherDrunkCanadian4 karma

I remember your last AMA, as an economics / math / stats nerd, im so envious. You guys are living the dream and I hope you don't run into any governmental interference. Are you guys impervious to being "absorbed" by the government?

How much has changed / how much have you guys grown since your last AMA?

Is it possible for this business to go public?

yottasavings5 karma

We hope to go public eventually! Definitely possible in the future. I don't think it would make sense to be absorbed by the government. A lot has changed! Things move quickly here. Lots of new product.s debit cards, credit cards coming, crypto savings coming, and more

AnotherDrunkCanadian3 karma

Awesome. If you grow to the stage that you do job postings, please let us know on reddit. I might apply if remote is possible.

yottasavings3 karma

For sure - check out the website for open positions

Thinkofyouincolors4 karma

Do you expect powerball or mega millions or the government to attempt to sue Yotta? Or do you see the lottery creating a similar type of savings account to compete with yotta?

yottasavings16 karma

No there's nothing illegal about what we are doing. I could maybe see the government trying something like a prize-linked savings account but the reality is the lottery is hugely profitable for them and so they'll just stick with that as long as it stays that way

Drifterae863 karma

When are international members going to be allowed to join? In New Zealand and interested but it's not avaliable here.

yottasavings1 karma

No plans to expand internationally right now so I can't give a timeline unfortunately. But we want to - it's on the roadmap

Limp_Investigator2503 karma

So are you guys like a bank savings account? So, if I save enough and want to withdraw, am I going to be able to get my money back?

yottasavings4 karma

Yeah you can withdraw any time!

Jaelyxa2 karma

As more users join Yotta, are there any plans to adjust winning tiers that are shared between all winners? The 2500/3000 winners appear to be getting around 120$ recently once split up.

yottasavings2 karma

Yeah we will likely increase it at some point to account for this

Background-Evening482 karma

Why does Yotta only reward you by using the Debit card and not the actual bank like routing number and bank acc number, example paying a credit card or even my car payment, can’t be paid by debit card has to be straight from the bank… why not reward us for using Yotta to pay stuff like that? What is it that the card has and not the actual bank itself as a whole

yottasavings5 karma

We earn revenues on debit card spend (from the merchant) so can sustain rewards on debit purchases. There's no revenue associated with ACH, so we couldn't sustain rewards like that.

LeoBrazen2 karma

Didn’t see this asked yet.

Does every ticket automatically net you $0.10 minimum everyday? Or is there a chance that you get nothing from a ticket?

Tredesde3 karma

There's a chance you could get nothing from a ticket, so they're not guaranteed

yottasavings1 karma

Yeah exactly

yottasavings2 karma

No, you'd have to match 3 balls in a week to hit the minimum. But either way you don't lose anything even if you don't win

guywhoisalive2 karma

I will say this

I play the lottery, because its the little bit of Hope that I have.

It's somerhing out of my control , that can change my life

I have written down exactly what I would do with the money ( post tax ) and only play when its above 250 million jackpot.

I play for the feeling of something being able to lift me out of the situation regular life dragged me into?

( its making me ask a question to post this, so ill add a " ? " the end )

yottasavings1 karma

Nothing wrong with playing the lottery as long as you don't spend more than you can afford to on it. But for an entertainment purchase here and there, as long as it's done responsibly, I think there's no problem with it

GnarlyKing2 karma

Do you have credit cards planned for the future?

yottasavings7 karma

Yes! Credit cards are coming in Q1 2022, which will have a random rewards element on it as well as a credit building piece

GnarlyKing2 karma

Metal? 👀👀

yottasavings4 karma

There will be a metal one that you can unlock if you hit a certain number of referrals!

MyBoener2 karma

I'm bouta throw in a little bit of money for fun. Is this one of those apps that have referral programs and such?

yottasavings1 karma

Awesome! Yup, we do have a referral program where you and your friends will both earn bonus tickets for the following week's prize drawing when they sign up using your promo code.

dersopotamus2 karma

saw you guys have a debit card where you have a chance at getting whatever you just purchased for free. How does this work? Is it instant? Is there any limit to the amount I can charge on it? Can I verify these odds?

yottasavings5 karma

Everything is in our debit card official rules that you can find on our website here https://www.withyotta.com/debit-official-rules.

It is instant! You get a push notification immediately. The cap is $5,000 on the amount you can win for free.

r_a_butt_lol5 karma

Would this not be very exploitable by returning purchases constantly?

yottasavings7 karma

It would be but we have rules and protections against that, so it wouldn't work

shirobearr3 karma

Who edited that page, specifically the part outlining the start/end dates of the sweepstakes?

yottasavings2 karma

It should start the first day of each month and end the last day of each month

skjthan2 karma

Are the winnings treated as income in the same way that interest would be, or are they considered prize money of some sort? In Canada, there is no tax on lottery winnings (unlike the states) but I suspect that is due to the fact that the government is the sole owner of such lotteries.

yottasavings2 karma

Yes treated as income as if it was any other prize money

Metalhart002 karma

I've always heard the urban legend of the genius that figured out a lotto winning strategy and then wins the lotto 5 times (things like studying which numbers are more likey and when to play, how bigger payouts mean more players meaning smaller individual winnings). I always assumed this wasn't true. Is there any way this could be true or any truth to this?

yottasavings2 karma

I think there were some people who figured out how to know if a scratch off ticket was a winner, but not possible with completely random games of chance like Powerball

RexBooty2 karma

Is Yotta available in Canada?

yottasavings1 karma

Unfortunately not! Us only right now

SPHAlex2 karma

How are the debit card purchases reported for tax purposes? Is it just through the merchant collecting the payment or is there some form on Yotta's end?

yottasavings2 karma

The debit card wins are treated as sweepstakes wins, so it's miscellaneous income. If it's above $600 we will send you a form as well.

MetropolitanMe2 karma

When will the Yotta credit card drop? 💳

yottasavings2 karma

Q1 next year! Stay tuned

regalalgorithm2 karma

This seems neat, but also similar in spirit to thing like Acorns and QCapital which just passively lead to saving via rounding up purchases (a similarly good tool to help people save, I suspect) . And as far as I know their services go to ETF investment rather than a savings account, and the former is strictly better for consumers. Are you thinking of incorporating passive saving and options for investment as well?

yottasavings5 karma

Yeah we are thinking of launching investing long term. Our current products are just the start for us. In any event, everyone needs cash readily accessible, so there is always a place for a savings account in every portfolio.

Deoxys100EX2 karma

How did you start Yotta? Did it start with the the idea, then the R&D, and then a launch? I have lots of good and broad ideas for apps and e-businesses, but I’m not sure where I should start, if at all right now as a student with minimal capital.

yottasavings2 karma

The idea, then thorough testing before doing R&D and diligencing the opportunity to validate it. Only after that did I actually start working on R&D

Ok-Macaron64442 karma

Can I stay anonymous if I win that 10 million for safety reasons?

yottasavings6 karma


AICPAncake1 karma

Are you related to Ken Moelis?

yottasavings1 karma


SirFortyXB2 karma

How does this work? I don’t understand anything about this kind of thing, but wouldn’t you eventually run out of money if you have to pay out the 10 million if someone ever hits it?

yottasavings7 karma

We partner with an insurance provider that would pay the jackpot if someone wins it

SirFortyXB2 karma

Ah! I didn’t even think about that! Thank you for answering my curiosity, this is a very cool idea made real.

yottasavings2 karma


HangInThereAndHODL1 karma

I love the app and idea! Would it at all be possible to be an investor?

yottasavings2 karma

We aren't raising money right now unfortunately sorry about that but thanks for your support!!

livejamie1 karma

Why isn't there a web app yet?

yottasavings1 karma

It's on the roadmap for next year. We want to get this done sooner rather than later.

TonganBeast8081 karma

I referred 10 users and was guaranteed the premium debit card. The one that was sent to me was a regular plastic one. After calling customer service, they kept playing phone tag with me saying call the bank, now call Yotta, no call the bank, no call Yotta. Is this how you treat people that helped your company grow? I want what was guaranteed to me.

yottasavings3 karma

The metal debit cards have been delayed with covid supply chain issues and such. We apologize for this for sure, but you will be getting a metal card automatically as soon as it's done being manufactured. So sorry for the delay on that

RoidMonkey1231 karma

Is it easy to set up a joint account (IE one account with access via 2 emails?) I want my spouse to have access also

yottasavings1 karma

We don't have separate login capability yet but it's on the roadmap! You can use a shared login and create a joint account

NotThatMaurice1 karma

Any chance you will add more ways to get money into the account, like Venmo or Paypal? I don't want to put my bank info in there.

yottasavings1 karma

You can do remote deposit capture or just push funds in using your Yotta account and routing number

tallyantics1 karma


yottasavings12 karma

We can do AMAs every 6 months

CharminSqueezer-22 karma


yottasavings11 karma

We don't team with big banks

uhdog817 karma

Wasn't there an AMA from this guy like two days ago?

yottasavings13 karma

We were forced to move it to today right after the last one started unfortunately, so we didn't do a full one.

sonsonmcnugget1 karma

Do you think in the future there could be rewards for using bill pay?

yottasavings6 karma

Unlikely since there is no revenue source there for us to sustain billpay rewards

Arqus21 karma

How exactly are the cash prizes paid out? To the Yotta account or to a personal bank account? Does Yotta take a percentage when you win a cash prize?

yottasavings1 karma

To the Yotta account. No we don't take a percentage of the prizes