Three players will split the record-breaking $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in the United States. It is statistically certain that you aren’t one of them.
There is more bad news. At least 23 other national lotteries drew numbers yesterday. You didn’t win any of those, either.
Except in cases of extraordinary jackpots, you usually only hear about the lottery operated wherever you live. It’s easy to overlook that there are national lotteries running all over the world. In addition to the giant drawing in the US, lottery numbers were drawn on Jan. 13 in Brazil, Ireland, South Africa, and Ukraine, just to name a few.
The World Lottery Association (WLA)—yes, that is a real organization—has 144 lottery-running member organizations, operating in 77 countries. Their 2014 annual report surveyed 73 of those lotteries. Total sales were $188.6 billion in 2013 dollars. Of that, $51.9 billion was spent on mandated “good causes” (education, sports, etc.) or turned over to the local treasury. The balance was paid out to players, funded the lottery operations, or pocketed by the operators.
Of course, none of those other lotteries are offering a payout in the billions of dollars. A winner of the Euromillions would only take home €81 million ($88.3 million). Swiss Lotto players would have to make do with 12.5 million francs ($12.4 million). South Africans, facing a severe economic crisis, were offered a paltry 3.5 million rand ($0.2 million).
If you missed out on your local lottery craze, don’t fret. Sites such as theLotter allow you to play the odds in dozens of countries. You can even buy shares in bulk ticket purchases, where any winnings are divided among the shareholders.
Wherever you are, you too can indulge in the pleasure of a statistically insignificant chance at a large cash payout. Enjoy!