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Eleven Fun Facts about the Lottery

Lottery Tickets, 9/2016, pics by Mike Mo” (CC BY 2.0) by JeepersMedia

It’s a phenomenon that’s enjoyed almost everywhere in the world – and when there’s a big win it quite often hits the headlines. So it’s not surprising that it also throws up some pretty amazing facts, including these eleven gems.

  1. We always knew the history of the lottery was a long one but it was a real surprise to learn that it went back as far as Ancient Rome where Augustus Caesar introduced a competition for citizens to win treasure brought back from military campaigns.

  2. When the very first lottery was introduced in England 450 years ago they went straight to the top for the person to announce the winning numbers none other than Queen Elizabeth I.

  3. The word “lottery” in fact comes from the Dutch word ‘lot’ which means a share of something bigger.

  4. You’d think that everyone would want to get hold of their winnings but, according to research in America, over $ 2 billion worth go unclaimed every year.

  5. When a survey was done of British jackpot winners 48% of them said they were still working at their day job.

  6. A group of players in Ireland once came up with a plan to win the £1.7 million jackpot that involved spending £820,000 to get every possible combination of numbers. Unfortunately, this didn’t include the winning ticket and they ended up losing over £500,000.


00300: ¡¡Esto es LOTERÍAAAAAAA!!” (CC BY 2.0) by Alvy

  1. It’s great to share, so imagine how delighted the whole town of Sodeto was when every resident won in the Spanish Christmas lottery. Well, not quite every resident. A Greek man who hadn’t wanted to play was left to regret his decision.

  2. After a lifetime of incident including being involved in seven potentially fatal car, train and plane crashes, Frane Selak from Croatia’s luck finally turned when, at the age of 73, he won €800,000 on the lottery.

  3. Even luckier still was Australian truck driver Bill Morgan. He had been pronounced dead following a crash but miraculously came round. To celebrate, he bought himself a lottery scratch-card and won a car worth $27,000. When a TV news programme filmed him buying another scratchcard it turned out that the new ticket had won him $250,000!

  4. In Sweden they have used the lottery to help improve people’s driving skills. That’s because all the cars that are spotted keeping to the speed limit go into a draw to win some of the money raised through the fines imposed on law-breaking motorists.

  5. Taiwan has also run an unusual lottery ever since 1951. Every time you buy something the receipt doubles up as a lottery ticket it’s a scheme to ensure that every customer gets a receipt.

Of course, there are lots more fascinating facts that we just haven’t had space to go into here, including many truly incredible wins. So next time you’re wondering whether it’s really worth it, perhaps these stories will inspire you and then just keep your fingers crossed!

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