Amazing Lottery Facts That Will Surprise You

It’s a known fact that winning the lottery makes dreams come true and can change lives forever. With that, comes some incredible stories, facts, and dramas. Here are some of the most incredible lottery facts, drama and excitement that the lottery creates. You will most definitely want to create some excitement of your own by playing the lottery online!

Lottery pioneers 

The first recorded signs of a lottery are Keno from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC. However, the Netherlands and Belgium also offered tickets in exchange for cash prizes in the 15th century. Record also shows that one of the first lotto games with extensive records was held in 1445 in L'Ecluse (modern-day Sluis). The jackpot prize was 1,737 florins (roughly $170,000) and sold over 4,300 tickets.

In 1812 a slightly more modern version of the lottery was created in the form of the Spanish Raffles such as the Loteria de Navidad (Spanish Christmas Raffle).

That just goes to show that lotteries have been a part of human history for at least 2,114 years!

The word 'lottery'

The English word “lottery” originates from the Dutch word 'lot' which means 'fate'.

The English word 'Lotto' originates from the first post-Roman Empire lottery in Italy that was held in Milan in 1449.

Vatican City has lotteries!

You may know about all the international lotto games around the world, but did you know that lotteries have grown in popularity to such an extent that even the Vatican City has hopped on board?

Vatican Lotteries The 1700’s Rome was well-known as a place of festivities and with the revival of theatre. These forms of entertainment were, however, mostly for the wealthy.

It’s for this reason that the commoners came up with their own way of having fun in taverns and in the town square. It was a lottery.

Eventually, Popes Innocent XI and XII threatened excommunication against Catholics that participated in the Italian lotteries. However, they continued and carried on being extremely popular with the public. Eventually, in 1732 the Holy See led by Pope Innocent XIII finally permitted the establishment of an official Roman lottery.

Over the centuries the Vatican warmed up to the idea of lotteries, with Pope Francis (the current Pope) holding  a lottery. The funds created through ticket sales all go to charity. 


In 2017 Pope Francis became the new owner of a papal-themed Lamborghini Huracán. The supercar was given to him by company executives at the Vatican and was auctioned off for charity.

In the image above you can see him blessing the sports car and autographing it in the presence of top executives from the luxury Italian sports car brand.

The car was auctioned at Sotheby's in London. The proceeds were given to three different charitable causes: the restoration of villages on the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, assisting victims of human trafficking, and missionary work in Africa.

The American Dream

It should come as no surprise, considering the record-breaking Powerball and Mega Millions, that the founding fathers of the US were fans of the lottery!

In fact, it was none other Benjamin Franklin, who established a lottery to pay for a cannon in Philadelphia.

George Washington also had his fair share involvement when it came to setting up lotteries. However, none of them succeeded. 

Thomas Jefferson set up a private lottery to pay off debts.

In 1776 the Continental Congress established lotteries in order to fund the Colonial Army.

Multi-million-dollar lessons in politeness

Since childhood, we are taught to always be polite. Unfortunately, Mindy Crandall’s good manners got her into a bit of a sticky situation back in 2013.

Mindy went into the store to buy a Powerball lottery ticket. The lines were incredibly long and Mindy felt sorry for 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie standing in the long queues. So she did her little bit to help the situation and let her cut in in front of her to buy a Quickpick Powerball ticket.

However, because of the line jump, Ms Mackenzie won $590 million in the draw on 18 May 2013.

As both Mindy and Ms Mackenzie had bought Quickpick tickets, had Mindy stayed in her place, the lotto machine would have kicked out the winning Powerball ticket to her.

Speaking to the press after she found out that the lady she let go ahead of her in the queue had become the biggest jackpot winner in history at the time, she said she had no regrets. She said she had absolutely no way knowing and that kindness was of the utmost importance to her.

Another Good Samaritan who could have also won big was a store clerk, but just like Mindy, he too had good manners.

Michael J. Weirsky forgot his Mega Millions lottery tickets he had just purchased for the jackpot worth $273 million on 8 March 2019. Another customer saw the tickets and handed them in.

After searching for his tickets for hours, Michael contacted the store and was told that someone had turned them in earlier.

“I was very thankful there was an honest person out there because I thought it was gone,” said Michael.

To save yourself from these scenarios, we would suggest you skip the grocery line and play the lottery online!

Largest unclaimed lottery prize

Imagine winning the lottery and you can’t find your lottery ticket? Unfortunately, this does happen and the world record for the largest unclaimed lottery prize goes to a EuroMillions ticket sold in the UK worth £63,837,543.60.

The ticket was purchased for the draw that took place on 8 June 2012. Which means that even if the person happens to stumble upon their lottery ticket now, it will be of no used to them as it has already expired. It’s not all bad news though, as all unclaimed National Lottery prizes go toward its Good Causes fund.

Fortune cookie made lottery history

Just when you come up with a really good lotto strategy, you find out that 110 tickets matched the second-highest Powerball prize division.

The incident was immediately flagged as usually there zero to approximately four winners per draw. So when 110 ticket holders hit the jackpot, officials suspected fraud.

However, they soon realised that a set of lucky numbers had been bulk printed and inserted into fortune cookies that made the rounds in Chinese restaurants.

In the end, 89 ticket holders won $100,000 and 21 won $500,000 due to the fact that they played the lucky lotto numbers they found in their fortune cookies and chose the Power Play which multiplied their winnings.

It just shows you - cookies are good for you!

The British Museum was created by lottery funds – and still benefits!

The UK also has a long-standing love affair with the lottery. In 1753 England created a lottery in order to create one of the world’s best museums.

The reason for creating the museum was due to the fact that there needed to be a place to exhibit Sir Hans Sloane’s huge cultural history collection.

More than 250 years later, The British Museum still receives funding in the form of Heritage Lottery Fund grants.

Sometimes lightning does strike twice or thrice

lighting dollar, lottery winners struck by lightning Over the years there have been numerous lottery winners that have made headlines. One such lottery winner is a gentleman by the name of James Bozeman Jr. who won the lottery not once but twice! He purchased his winning lottery tickets from the same store totalling $13 million. Guess number 13 is lucky for some!

He’s not the only one to win the lottery more than once. A couple from Virginia won the lottery three times in one month! Their first win amounted to $1 million thanks to the Powerball. Their second win amounted to $50,000 Virginia Lottery Pick and their third win was yet another $1 million on a scratch card the very next day! 

The best lottery tip ever!

The next lottery win ended up being made into a movie.

Robert Cunningham, a police detective frequented the same restaurant for just over eight years. By that time he knew the staff pretty well. Especially, Phyllis Penzo, a waitress there for 24 years.

While scratching around to leave a tip for Phyllis and realising he didn’t have any loose change, he told Phyllis that in lieu of a tip he would split any winnings he may receive on his latest lottery ticket. She agreed, and he won and true to his word he split the jackpot win with her totalling $6 million. 

A syndicate came close to playing all the winning combinations and won!

A lottery syndicate accomplished the impossible when they manually listed all the possible number combinations for a 6/44 lottery in Virginia.

However, they came unstuck when they found out that they had to purchase each ticket separately. They did extremely well though and managed to buy approximately 5 million tickets out of a possible 7 million combinations.

It was good enough though and they won the $27 million jackpot!

Their profit?  $23 million.

Needless to say, the Virginia lottery got quite a big shock when they learned what happened. They considered placing a ban on anyone else doing the same, but the motion fell through. A law, however, was passed that sales agents have to take care of customers purchasing smaller tickets ahead of those wanting to purchase bulk buys.

Truck driver comes back from the dead and wins the lottery

That’s quite a heading and completely true. Back in the ‘90s, a man by the name of Bill Morgan suffered a fatal heart attack after he was crushed in a horrific accident. Bill was pronounced clinically dead for fourteen minutes.
 
While there have been amazing stories of people surviving something like this, fourteen minutes is rather a long time and surviving this without significant brain damage almost unheard of.

However, Bill not only did survive but after being in a medically induced coma for twelve days, he woke up perfectly fine.

Incredibly, Bill decided to buy a scratch-off lottery ticket not long after and ended up winning a car worth $17,000!

Math professor cracks the system

Joan Ginther, a math professor, won the lottery four times. She didn’t win a measly $20 and $30 prizes either—she hit multiple million dollar prizes each time!

Her first win amounted to $5.4 million; then a decade later, she won $2 million; then two years later $3 million; and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot. If you are wondering what the odds are? It’s one in eighteen septillion.

Speaking of odds. According to the National Centre for Health Statistics, the odds of fatal injuries while driving are about 1 in 6,700. Therefore, the odds of winning a lottery jackpot are considerably lower, ESPECIALLY if you buy lottery tickets online! 

The last and most important lottery fact – YOU can win!

After reading these lottery facts, one thing stands out the most: you CAN win!

Take the chance now and play your favourite international lottery right here at PlayUSALotteries.com today!



This post was written by
Jason L - who has written 2683 articles
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