Roman Holiday Buzz: SuperEnalotto Boils Over

Italy’s SuperEnalotto offers a record jackpot of €195 million and even though American lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions often rise higher (and many Europeans take part in those, too), this is the highest European jackpot in history. It’s promising to be a long, hot summer – let’s celebrate with some Italian Style.

Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain and… Lotto

Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni in the Trevi Fountain La Dolce Vita

So it is time to zoom in and get to know the phenomenon which has created limitless joy for Italians for so long, because even though officially SuperEnalotto launched a mere 20 years ago (on Wednesday 3 December 1997 to be exact), the lotto actually borrows its name from its predecessor Enalotto which has been around since the 1950s.

The post-war period was a time during which saw the Italian economy booming. The war was over, the king was gone and Italian movies, cars and vespas were conquering the world. For the first time in a long time, an Italian generation saw more lire in its pockets. The economy grew more than 5% a year (second only to Germany in those days). This was truly La Dolce Vita and new lotteries sprung up everywhere.

Every City Had Its Own Lotto

With more money came more options for leisure. The Enalotto promised exactly that and it was an enormous success in its heyday. Enalotto’s original format was that of a football pools-style 1X2 game based on ‘Lotto’; whichever first number was drawn from a Lotto wheel in Italian cities listed in alphabetical order, with the second numbers being provided the Lotto in Naples and Rome. There were 12 boxes to fill out on each slip and the options for each box were ranges: 1 being for numbers between 1 and 30, X for the range 31-60, and 2 signifying 61-90. If a player correctly guessed 10, 11 or 12 boxes correctly, he or she would win a prize.

Rebranding in Late 1990s

In 1996, Enalotto was bought by Sisal though, and the format of the game changed. The reason? Dwindling sales! The game was rebranded to SuperEnalotto. From then onwards, players needed to select six numbers from a range of 1 to 90. Draws still used numbers from the Lotto in Florence, Naples, Bari, Milan, Palermo and Rome. The Jolly number was provided by the city known for its carnival, Venice.

SuperEnalotto became in instant hit with Italians when the first jackpot of 11.8 billion Lire (more than €6 million) was won in January of 1998 by someone in Poncarale, Brescia.

In 2006 SuperEnalotto began offering SuperStar. The SuperStar is an extra number which players can opt to play to win more and bigger prizes. In December 2008 the first SuperStar winners scooped up €47 million. This insane amount was won by a players’ syndicate in Rossano Stazione, Cosenza.

Since July 2009 SuperEnalotto has been operating independently of the Lotto draws. Since 2 July 2009, numbers for the SuperEnalotto have been drawn in Rome.

SuperEnalotto Becomes Europe’s Biggest Lottery

The biggest prizes won in the SuperEnalotto were 165.5 million in July 2015 (won by a single winner) and 177.7 million in October 2010 (won by a Milan-based syndicate consisting of 70 players).

SuperEnalotto has been captivating the minds of generations of Italians and increasingly other Europeans, including thousands of Germans and Austrians, opt to participate. There is no legal reason why they shouldn’t; it’s perfectly allowed to play SuperEnalotto from outside of Italy.

Regardless of where you are, we wish you a wonderful Summer!