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Interesting Lotto Facts

  1. It is expected that Powerball will change its double matrix in January 2009, making its jackpot more difficult to win (1:195 million) versus the current Mega Millions game (1:176 million).
  2. In North America, government-operated lotteries exist in 42 US states, the District of Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all Canadian provinces. Worldwide, publicly-operated lotteries exist in at least 100 countries on every inhabited continent.
  3. During US lottery sales totaled $53.2 billion. Canadian sales reached $8.2 billion ($Can). New York led the U.S. (and North America) with fiscal 2005 sales of $6.2 billion, followed by Massachusetts with sales of $4.5 billion. The Canadian leaders were Quebec ($3.1 billion) and Ontario ($2.3 billion). Worldwide sales honors go to Japan's Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank Lottery, with sales of $7.9 billion ($US) in 2001. They were followed by the U.K. National Lottery, Loterias y Apuestas del Estado of Spain, Lottomatica of Italy, and France's La Francaise des Jeux.
  4. Since the New Hampshire lottery was founded in 1964, lotteries have raised more than $200 billion for government programs in North America. In fiscal year 04 Canadian lotteries transferred $3.1 billion ($CAN) to their beneficiaries, while U.S. lotteries turned over $14.5 billion ($US) to theirs.
  5. Lottery employees, their immediate family and employees of lottery suppliers are usually not allowed to play the lottery. In practice, there is no way that employees could alter the outcome of a game in their favor, but lottery officials generally believe that public confidence would be damaged should an employee win a large prize.
  6. QUESTION: I bought six tickets for a game where the odds were one in four, and none of them were winners. Doesn't this show that the prizes aren't awarded randomly? ANSWER: No. Consider tossing a coin. It is possible for a coin to come up heads four, five, or more times in a row, even though the odds are one in two. Part of randomness is the concept that every ticket has the identical chance of winning and that the result of one ticket has no impact on the next. Suppose 'one in four' meant that out of every four tickets there was exactly one winner. Suppose three tickets in a row lost. You now know that the next one is a winner. This is not random. If you were a Retailer and saw three people in a row buy non-winning tickets, would you sell the next one or keep it for yourself? This is why true randomness is necessary for security.
  7. The largest lotto jackpot in history was won on February 18, 2006 by a group of eight Nebraska coworkers. The group elected to receive a lump sum payment of $177.3 million (or $22.2 million each) in lieu of an annuity that would have paid out $365 million over a 30 year period. The winning Powerball ticket was purchased in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  8. Lottery winners can usually not remain anonymous because state and provincial lawmakers want the public to know that the lottery is honestly run and so require that at a minimum the name of the winner and their city of residence be made public. This way the public can be reassured that the prize really was paid out to a real person.
  9. Contrary to popular belief, it is not true that the odds of winning the lottery are worse than being struck by lightning. You only need to consider the awarding of large jackpots to dispell this myth. In 1996 1,136 people won $1,000,000 or more playing North American lotteries. An additional 4,520 won $100,000 or more. By contrast, 91 people were killed by lightning. In addition, there's no second prize in a lightning strike. In a lottery, you win lesser amounts of money by coming close to the winning numbers. On many games odds of 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 are not uncommon. Lotteries award over $50 million in prizes in North America every day. Lightning isn't nearly that lenient.
  10. $45.8 million appeared to be the largest Lotto jackpot in the Michigan Lottery records, won in 1995 and shared by three winners.

Sources: NASPL, Lottery Universe (Licensed under a Creative Commons License) & Lotterywest

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