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The Lotteries of South Africa

Published on: 14/08/2013

Compared to Europe South Africa was relatively slow to establish a centralized institution to regulate its gambling industry. It wasn’t until 1997 that the National Lotteries Board was created for this very purpose. A commendable action carried put by the NLB was to immediately set up a National Lottery, whose purpose would be to fund numerous philanthropic and non profit institutions throughout the continent. Tickets soon went on sale, and on the 11th of March 2000 there was a hugely showcased initial live draw. The lucky recipient of the very first jackpot was a nursery school teacher and single mother from Plumstead. She received half a million rand tax free.

The game is hugely popular in South Africa. Colloquially known as SA Lotto, there is no family that does not contain an avid player. Not only are new winners made every week, charitable causes are well remunerated, with 14.4 billion rand having been donated from lottery funds. Some people let big wins go to their heads sadly, and do not make the best use of their prizes. Batsirai Mupfawi, a chauffer from Zimbabwe won 14 million rand in 2001. Such a huge prize would be sure to change most people’s lives forever, and Batsirai had many grand plans, including completing his schooling. However ten years later he had gone through all the money, was back where he started, and hadn’t even completed his studies.

Others too have squandered their winnings, even turning good luck into a tragedy. Jason Canterbury was only 18 years old when he won 6.7 million rand in 2003. He rapidly proceeded to waste his money, which predictably soon ran out. Wishing to retain his newfound lavish lifestyle he turned to crime and drugs, which eventually resulted in his death in 2008, when he was murdered by a rival drug dealer.

Because SA lotto was so popular, it was decided in 2003 that another supplementary lottery be formed. Lotto Plus helped take the pressure off the SA lotto, while extending the game to new areas. The National Lottery was privatized in 2007, with the company Gidani running it. One of their first actions was a process of diversification, creating new games such as SportsStake and Wini Manje, a hugely popular scratchcard, along with a Powerball lottery. Fifty percent of all revenue is allotted to the prizes, with six percent being retail commission, ten percent on operational costs, and thirty four percent going to the NLDTF.

The introduction of the Powerball lottery game was probably the most popular alteration since privatization. Big prizes are synonymous with powerballs, and with an amazing five million rand jackpot this is no exception. Players choose their numbers on a matrix grid, selecting five numbers from fortyfive, along with another one number from twenty. The cost of each matrix board is 3.5 rand, with powerball draws being held twice a week, in live draws every Tuesday and Friday.

A thirty four year old man from Polokwane was the very first winner of the Powerball lottery. In October 2009 He took home a cool thirty million rand. Amazingly this gentleman had won the SA Lottery in 2002, collecting eleven million rand. There has been much speculation about his identity, but he remains anonymous.

A middle class mother was for a time the biggest ever winner of the South African Lottery, collecting a stupendous ninety one million rand in February 2010. This record did not last long however, when a transport entrepreneur won 102 million rand the next year. Huge wins like these provide hope for so many, who diligently play the lottery every week, hoping for their lives to be changed.

Published on: 14/08/2013 © Bet Bind