Tue Oct 25 00:02:32 CAT 2016

Fun facts about the lottery | 04 October, 2016 12:20
Jump in: this pile of cash could be yours if your luck holds in the lottery.
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There is no denying the fact that we’ve all thought about what we’d do with our winnings if we were lucky enough to walk away with the lottery prize!

While the odds might seem to be stacked up against most aspirational millionaires, there is no harm in dreaming about what life could be like with a few million in the bank. We can all admit to waiting in anticipation as the national lottery results are called out.

Not only does such a cash injection offer a lifetime of financial security (when managed correctly), but it also brings with it the temptation to throw cash at every whim.

Did you know that 44% of all lottery winners declare bankruptcy within five years of claiming their prize, and that the number-one unusual purchase of lottery winners is a plastic-surgery procedure? Let’s take a look at a handful of fun facts about the lottery:

What do winners buy?

To date, the top five strangest items bought by lottery winners include a new pair of hips for a significant other, a narrowboat, tarantulas, a fireworks company, and the house or property next door. It has also been recorded that lottery winners buy an average of 4.5 new cars while almost 10% of winners splurge on more than 10 vehicles.

A new home is also at the top of the list for many winners, as almost 70% choose to move and buy new homes. Winners also spend their new-found fortune on luxurious holidays, round-the-world travel, exorbitant shopping sprees and the hiring of full-time personal staff such as beauticians, chefs and personal trainers.

What are the most common number pairs?

When it comes to playing the national lottery, there is only a slim chance that the latest lotto results will line up with what you have on your ticket.

However, as upsetting as this may be, this game of chance was designed to ensure absolute randomness when selecting the winning numbers. Often, those who buy lottery tickets will use their “lucky numbers” as a guideline. If you’ve been jotting down your lucky set of numbers, the chances are high, unfortunately, that you will never claim a cent of the prize money.

Still, over the years, a certain selection of numbers has made an appearance. The most prominent number in the South African lottery is 16, which has appeared 226 times. To date, the most popular number pair in our local lottery is 15 and 47, occurring 36 times.

What is the largest prize?

South Africans now have access to lottery draws from all over the world and, thanks to the exchange rate, can stand a chance of winning billions instead of millions. While it is always fun to dream of life as a billionaire, the truth of the matter is that you need to have a “one in 292-million” chance if you hope to claim the prize! In 2013, Gloria MacKenzie from Florida in the US claimed the largest jackpot win to date of $590.5-million in the American Powerball. In South Africa, the largest prize was claimed by a couple who took home the R91-million Powerball win.

Let’s talk about coincidence

While national lotteries the world over claim absolute randomness, there have been a handful of notable incidents where the organisation was investigated for reoccurring results. In 2009, authorities in Bulgaria questioned the reliability of the national lottery when the same six numbers were drawn in two consecutive rounds. The case was dismissed, but the odds of this occurring were calculated to be one in 4-million!

On the topic of coincidence, a family from the UK defied the odds of 350-billion to one when they had three separate jackpot wins totalling £3.25-million.

As you disappear into the wonderfully familiar daydream of your life as a lottery millionaire, there is just one thing that you need to remember: you can wish and hope with everything that you’ve got – just don’t forget to buy a ticket!

This is a sponsored article and does not involve Times Media journalists.


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