“Join 2 euros and win the 90 million jackpot!” The spots are flying around your ears and they all sound equally tempting. The fact that a lottery ticket is nowadays bought with a click of the mouse ensures that it is made very easy for the fortune seeker. Yet you can imagine that lotteries once looked very different. While we can now buy our lottery tickets online from the lazy couch, in the past whole villages gathered to attend the draw in the fraternity.
Times change, and so do everything to do with lotteries and scratch cards. Yet it remains fascinating to see how a simple game of chance can hold an entire nation in its grip. So there is plenty to tell about the wonderful world of lotteries and games of chance. From the rich history of the lottery to the biggest financial hits, the world has known. You will learn everything about lotteries and scratch cards.
What is a lottery?
Most will have a pretty good idea of what is meant by a lottery. Nevertheless, a detailed explanation about a lottery is in order.
How does a lottery work?
A lottery is nothing more than a game of chance where each participant buys a ticket (traditionally a piece of paper) of a certain value. A unique numerical and/or letter combination is linked to these lots. Because a lottery is usually played by a large group of people, a portion of the sales proceeds is used to pay out the prizes. Who gets which prizes is again determined based on a random generator. This is usually done under the supervision of a notary.
Role of the notary
Let's put it first: engaging a civil-law notary is not required by law. Nevertheless, most providers of games of chance decide to hire a notary who takes care of the course of the game, but who also has a symbolic role. After all, a civil-law notary is an official with a reliable image to the outside world. At every lottery draw, a notary is present who checks whether everything is in order. Nowadays, larger lotteries do this via advanced software. After the draw, the notary again determines whether all prizes have been awarded correctly by the software.
Chances of winning per lottery
Of course, it's all about the chances of winning, but we will have to temper the hopeful expectations somewhat. When lotteries talk about the chances of winning, you should not forget that it concerns any prize. With winning chances, not only the main prize is looked at, but also, for example, smaller prizes such as a few euros or a voucher. That is why we have made a distinction between the total chance of winning and the chance of winning the main prize.
||Total chance of winning
||Chances of winning the grand prize
|The State Lottery
||1 in 2
||1 in 18 million
|National Postcode Lottery
||1 in 5
||1 in 100 million
||1 in 4
||1 in 100 million
||1 in 6
||1 in 49 million
||1 in 26
||1 in 95 million
||1 in 4
||1 in 100 million
||1 in 4
||1 in 50 million
||1 in 22
||1 in 116 million
The social function of lotteries
As a result, lotteries actually had a social function almost from the start, in many countries the lotteries were therefore mainly aimed at the poorer population. Today, lotteries still have a social function, although it already looks somewhat different. If we look at the lotteries in the Netherlands, most people will know by now that lotteries and charities are connected. The player not only participates to win a cash prize but also automatically supports a good cause with every euro.
Since almost all lotteries must donate half of the proceeds to charities, there is, therefore, an enormous social interest. The State Lottery is the only lottery that does not have to give up any proceeds, but there are reasons for that: this is the state lottery. Thirty percent of the income goes to the national treasury. In terms of the total amount, the Nationale Postcode Loterij is the lottery that donates the most. In 2015, for example, it donated an amount of 328 million euros that was distributed to charities that are committed to sport, culture, and development. We can say the same for the Bankgiro Loterij: all charities are active in the world of music, art, and museums.
If we do the same for the European lotteries, we come across two that stand out:
- Eurojackpot: the draw of this lottery takes place on Friday evening and that means that all of Europe is watching with hope. This is therefore a lottery draw that is held in various EU countries. For example, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, and Italy are taking part.
- However, EuroMillions: is currently the most famous European lottery. The lottery was launched in 2004 when France's La Française des Jeux, Spain's Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, and British Camelot joined forces. After the first draw on February 13, 2004, a slew of other countries soon decided to join the trio. This included Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, and Portugal. What is the purpose of the lottery? To become the biggest in Europe and chase the hysteria of the American lotteries.
What does the European Lotteries Association do?
With so many national and international games of chance, it is of course necessary that there is an international game of chance authority. It exists in the form of the European Lotteries Association
. The purpose of this European watchdog is actually the same as what the Gaming Authority (KSA) does: to supervise. For a responsible game of chance offer, the European providers must therefore adhere to the standards of the European Lotteries (EL). This applies to lotteries that are specifically aimed at one country, as well as lotteries that focus on several countries.
Biggest lotteries in the world
Lotteries, therefore, exist in all kinds of variants and what will particularly appeal to the imagination are the winnings. How high they also partly depend on the number of inhabitants of a country. The State Lottery and EuroMillions, for example, differ widely, but that also applies if we compare the former lottery with one of the American lotteries. The two most famous lotteries are also the biggest:
This is really nothing but the American version of the lotto game, which is all about choosing the right numbers from a set of numbers. Powerball has made a name for itself because of the huge jackpots. For example, a price of 1.388 billion euros was once quoted. It had to be divided among 3 winners. But still: 1.388 billion!
This lottery finds that people in the United States are no longer warm from a few hundred million euros. And so they regularly hand out prizes of over a billion euros. In October 2018, a price of 1.4 billion euros was issued. You read that right indeed. This time there was a single winner: a lucky resident of the state of South Carolina.
Organize your own lottery
Now that you may be completely fascinated by everything about lotteries, you might just think about organizing your own lottery. However, we want to warn you about that. Because although organizing a lottery yourself sounds harmless, the Tax Authorities and the KSA are doing everything they can to combat all non-regulated games of chance. And that also applies to your own lottery. To organize a lottery, even if it is a one-off, you will need to apply for a permit.
How many people actually win something?
We've all entered a lottery at one time or another, and chances are most of us have won prizes too. However, in most cases, this is a small price. For example, a survey by Radar shows that 90% have won something, but that more than 67% have won something small (think of a small cash prize or a symbolic prize such as a bunch of flowers). This brings us straight to the caveat that the chance of winning is also based on small prizes and not immediately on the main prize. The most won amount is 100 euros. And that while we all crave those tens of million euros.
Win a lottery, then what?
When asked what people would spend their money on if they won a million euros, the majority say they want to spoil family and friends with a gift (41%). Also, many people would pay off the mortgage or debts (40%), while travel is mentioned as the third alternative by 33% of the people.
These intentions all sound promising in themselves, but it is often forgotten how many headaches winning a lottery can entail. Such a multi-million dollar price cuts a lot of money, and we don't just mean that positively. What about the abundance of information from slippery asset managers and friends who suddenly report to you again? If you decide to give a friend a few thousand euros, it may just be that it is 'too little, while a well-intentioned loan may never be repaid. Friendships suffer as a result, while price awareness does not improve either. That cool motorcycle is just as easy to get rid of, it doesn't matter that much.