13 Facts About Lottery and Jackpots: Historical, Funny and Hard to Believe

Playing the lottery is a fun and affordable way to win extra cash. If you don’t have casinos nearby, you can always visit your local grocer to buy a ticket. Or visit your favorite online lottery sites to play games from around the world such as EuroJackpot or SuperEnalotto.

On the other hand, the lottery is a curious game and has developed some interesting, shocking, and surprising facts since it was invented. If you enjoy learning about fun facts then you’ll want to continue reading this article. We’ve done our research and have found 13 of the most bizarre lottery facts worldwide.

1. People Spend More On Lottery Compared to Other Forms of Entertainment

Spend More On Lottery

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The topmost interesting lottery fact is that people spend more on lottery tickets than they do on any other type of entertainment. In 2019, Americans bought over $80 million worth of lottery tickets. In 2021, Camelot UK Lotteries Limited announced that the National Lottery sales broke the £8 billion barriers for the first time, despite the pandemic impact.

To give you an idea, Americans spend on average $320 on lottery tickets and only $243 on other types of entertainment such as movies or gaming.

2. Voltaire Was an Early Lottery Winner

François-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire was a French writer, historian, and philosopher. He teamed up with a mathematician named Charles Marie de La Condamine to find a loophole in the French national lottery. The city of Paris held a lottery to repay municipal bonds. The lottery had large prizes each month.

Due to miscalculation, the prize in each district was greater than the total cost of lottery tickets. Voltaire thought that if he bought all the lottery tickets he would be sure to win.

With that in mind, he organized a syndicate to purchase all the lottery tickets in his district. The group made about 7.5 million francs. With millions in the bank, Voltaire was able to live a financially free life to concentrate on his writing.

3. Some Belief the Illuminati Are Behind It

Lottery and Jackpots


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Whenever large sums of money are involved, some people might come up with elaborate conspiracy theories about people or organizations. Many believe that the lottery is organized by the elite or the Illuminati. Additionally, some people speculate that members of the Illuminati are involved in the government and run the banks.

With that being said, people say that the Illuminati rigs the lottery to make it almost impossible to win but they reap the benefits from all the ticket sales. This secret organization then uses the money to fund other types of secret projects. However, there has been no evidence of a secret society organizing the lottery hence why it’s called a conspiracy theory.

4. How Jackpots are Paid Can Matter More Than How Much is Paid


Lottery and Jackpots

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Some lotteries such as Mega Millions or the US Powerball have massive jackpots each week. But how these jackpots are paid can make a major difference in how much you get paid. Some lotteries offer lump sums or an annuity option. The annuity option allows you to get paid in installments over 30 years but you’ll get taxed on each amount.

On the other hand, if you take out a lump sum, you’ll get taxed once on the full amount. The tax rate will depend on which country you’re from. Some lotteries, such as EuroMillions, don’t tax jackpot winners, but they don’t offer an annuity option.

5. The Lottery is Older Than You Think

The oldest recording of a lottery is keno slips from ancient China. These slips date far back in history between 201 and 187 BC. These lotteries were said to fund large government projects such as the Great Wall of China.

Another ancient lottery record is of Augustus Caesar. The former Roman emperor held the first recorded lottery that offered tickets for sale. He used the funds to repair the city. In the Middle Ages, lotteries were extremely popular because they were a painless form of taxation. Governments held lotteries to fund all sorts of projects.

And lastly, during the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, aristocratic dinner hosts would give each guest a ticket. The holder of the winning ticket would win a prize such as dinnerware.

6. The Biggest Jackpot Ever Won

Biggest Jackpot Ever Won

Everyone who plays the lottery dreams of winning the jackpot prize. An interesting fact is that winning $1 million is very much possible. But in 2018, Mega Millions made history when players from South Carolina won a whopping $1.537 billion, which is now known as the biggest jackpot ever won!

7. Many Winners Never Collect

Facts About Lottery and Jackpots

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There are some winners who play but never believe that they could ever possibly win a massive jackpot. As a result, there are many instances where winners never come forward to collect their prize. And when they do, it’s often too late.

This is true for a player named Martyn Tott. He lost £3million because he didn’t come forward in time to claim his winnings. Martyn became so obsessed with trying to get his money that it destroyed his marriage. However, he later went on to become a writer and is living a peaceful life.

8. You’re More Unlikely to Win Than You Think

Facts About Lottery and Jackpots

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The odds of winning popular lotteries such as the US Powerball is 1 in 292,201,338 which of course makes it difficult to win the grand prize. What’s more, it can also be discouraging to learn about situations that are more likely to happen than to win a jackpot. For example, there’s a 1 in 700,000 chance of being crushed by a meteor than winning the lottery.

However, the game is fun to play and there are lottery strategies you can take part in to increase your chances of winning. You could join a syndicate or use the power of mathematics to win. Other people have been luckier than others. Richard Lustig was a player who won 7 times.

9. Major Films Have Been Funded By the UK Lottery

UK Lottery

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We bet you didn’t know that some of the most famous movies of all time were funded by the UK National Lottery. These films include The Last King of Scotland, The King’s Speech, and the infamous Billy Elliot. These movies went on to win multiple awards in the process.

10. Israel Drew The Same Numbers Twice

Israel Drew The Same Numbers Twice

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The chances of a lottery drawing the same numbers twice are 1 in 4 trillion. But back in 2010, that’s exactly what happened in Israel. In less than a month, the national lottery in Israel drew the same six numbers twice!

11. Short Story of Bill Morgan

Bill Morgan

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Bill Morgan survived a terrible car crash and a heart attack before falling into a coma. Miraculously Bill came out of his coma and suddenly, his luck began to change. Just months after being in a coma, Morgan won a car.

News wanted to report the story and asked Bill to recreate the scene where he scratched his card and won the car. Live on camera, Bill recreated the scene with a real scratch card and won $250,000!  

12. Many Winners Lose it All

Facts About Lottery and Jackpots

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Winners who are not proactive with their finances end up losing every penny they won. Financial experts advise lottery winners to always hire a financial advisor to help them manage their winnings. But many winners decide to spend frivolously on drugs and alcohol. Statistics show that 70% of lottery winners become bankrupt.

Michael Carroll is the perfect example of what not to do when you win the lottery. Carroll won £9,736,131 from the National Lottery in 2002 and he was only 19 at the time. Fast forward to 2010, and Michael was declared bankrupt and claiming benefits.

13. The Word Lottery is A Multicultural Mashup


Lottery and Jackpots

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The word lottery originates from the dutch word “lot,” which translates to “fate.” And the word lotto originates from Italy meaning “a lot”. It also has French origins with the word “loto.”

Final Thoughts

It’s always fun to learn about the origins of something such as how it was developed, where its name comes from, and of course statistics. As you can see, the lottery has its fair share of funny and historical facts. We hope you learned something valuable about lotteries in this post.