Do you remember the first ever National Lottery Draw? At 7 pm on Saturday 19th of November 1994 (yes it was more than 16 years ago!) a nation sat glued to the TV, tickets in hand, oohing and ahhing as each number was revealed. ‘It could be you’ the publicity told us. We really thought it could. We still do. With odds of nearly 14 million to one, of course the chances are slight but people do win. Since that first night hosted by Noel ‘Deal or no Deal’ Edmonds more than £37.5 billion has been paid out in prizes and over 2,400 millionaires or multi-millionaires have been created.
According to The Camelot Group who have run the lottery since it started one in 7,366 of the UK’s player population has now won a share of a National Lottery jackpot. Even better, the National Lottery has raised more than £24 billion for good causes (on average around £25 million a week) with money distributed through over 34,000 grants.
Ahh yes… but money can’t buy you happiness.
Whilst some refer to the National Lottery as a’ tax on the stupid’ others are likely to have a much more positive opinion. Despite a number of high profile meltdowns as winners have struggled to cope with the pressures of new found wealth, figures reveal that since their win, 98% of lottery winners report that they are as happy or happier. So much for money not being able to buy you happiness. Friends and family of winners stand to gain too with 97% of jackpot winners giving money to family while 69% give to friends. 77% of winners also share their wealth with charity.
In 2004 Camelot launched a pan-European lottery: EuroMillions. With odds of 76,275,360 to win the jackpot the odds are considerably longer than the already long odds of the National Lottery. That didn’t stop Nigel Page from Gloucestershire buying a couple of £2 EuroMillions tickets earlier this year. He’s pretty glad he did. £56,008,113.20 glad. The single biggest ever lottery win in the UK and one heck of a lot of bank notes to count.
Even that amount though is dwarfed by the $314 million won on a lucky ticket in the USA or the Euro 147.8 million won in Italy.
Sure, it’s a lottery. But as they say… If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the raffle!