10 Incredible Lottery Facts

If you think winning the lottery when you play Powerball or Mega Millions online is impossible, read on. With a little bit of luck, it is possible. Stranger things have happened! For those who get very lucky, not only does winning the lottery make dreams come true and change lives forever, it can also result in fascinating and fun facts. Some of these stories are so dramatic that they could be told in lottery television shows! Dive into 10 of the most incredible lottery facts and take a moment to appreciate all the drama and excitement that the lottery creates.

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1. Not Checking or Losing a Lottery Ticket Cost Someone Big-Time

The world record for largest unclaimed lottery prize goes to a EuroMillions ticket sold in the UK worth £63,837,543.60. The draw date was 8 June 2012, so even if someone finds the ticket now, it will be of no use to them as the ticket has long expired. All unclaimed National Lottery prizes go toward its Good Causes fund.

2. The Low Countries Are Lottery Pioneers

The Low Countries Are Lottery Pioneers

Lotteries offering tickets in exchange for cash prizes were first recorded in the 15th century in the Netherlands and Belgium. The earliest documented public lottery was held in 1445 in the Dutch town of L'Ecluse (modern-day Sluis). The lottery offered a prize of 1,737 florins (roughly $170,000 in today's money) and sold over 4,300 tickets. Most revenues were used to build town infrastructure or help the poor.

3. The Word 'Lottery' Is a Multicultural Mashup

Since lottery evolved into its modern form – selling tickets for a potential cash prize win – in the Netherlands and Belgium, it is no surprise that the English word 'lottery' originates from the Dutch word 'lot' which means 'fate'. 'Lotto' originates from Italian – the first post-Roman Empire lottery in Italy was held in Milan in 1449.

4. Even the Vatican City Has Lotteries!

At first the papacy was against lotteries in Rome. Popes Innocent XI and XII threatened excommunication against Catholics that participated in the Italian lotteries, but the lotteries were still as popular as ever with the public. In 1732, the Holy See led by Pope Innocent XIII finally permitted the establishment of an official Roman lottery. Centuries later, the Vatican has more than warmed up to lotteries. Pope Francis, the current pope, held a lottery -- with funds going to charity – in January 2015. He just announced a second lottery with a 30 July draw date. The tickets are only 10 euros each, however you'll have to go to a Vatican pharmacy, post office, supermarket, or bookshop if you want to enter.

5. The British Museum Was Created by Lottery Funds – and Still Benefits!

The British Museum Was Created by Lottery Funds

One of the world's best museums was made possible because of the lottery! In 1753, England formed a lottery with the museum's creation in mind. More than 250 years later, the museum still receives funding in the form of Heritage Lottery Fund grants. The Heritage Lottery Fund gives grants to many British institutions with proceeds from the National Lottery.

6. Lotteries Are a Whole Lot Older Than You Think

While no one can say definitively when lotteries began, they certainly are not a new concept. The earliest forms of lottery can be traced as far back as 100 B.C. in Ancient Rome and the Han Dynasty in China. This means that lotteries have been a part of human history for at least 2,114 years! A slightly more modern story is that of the Spanish raffles such as Loteria de Navidad which was first drawn in 1812.

7. The United States of America Was a Lottery-Funded Project

The founding fathers of the US were founding fans of the lottery! Benjamin Franklin established a lottery to pay for a cannon in Philadelphia. George Washington set up many lotteries, though they never succeeded. Thomas Jefferson set up a private lottery to pay off debts. And in 1776, the Continental Congress established lotteries in order to fund the Colonial Army. No wonder Mega Millions and Powerball are so popular – playing the lottery is as patriotic as bald eagles and baseball! Read more Mega Million fun facts.

8. What Are the Odds: Dying in a Car Crash or Winning the Jackpot?

The odds of fatal injuries while driving are about 1 in 6,700, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The odds of winning the jackpot in any given lottery are much lower, no matter which lottery you wish to play. Herein lies the catch – you need to drive to a shop to buy your lottery ticket, right? WRONG! You can buy lottery tickets online without ever needing to step foot in a car or public transportation!

9. Big Winners Quit Their Jobs? Think Again!

Lottery winners work

A 2009 study of Swedish lottery winners by Bengt Furaker and Anna Hedenus found that contrary to popular belief, a whopping 62% of the winners choose to retain their regular jobs, while only 12% of winners totally quit working. This result may come from the fact the most people feel a desire to be productive and generate income, and from work and many also see it as an intrinsic part of their identity. A National Opinion Research Center poll from 2016 also showed that 70% of adults would still work, even if they didn't need the money.

10.It Pays to Get Your Receipt in China

In the fight against rampant tax-evasion, China has found an innovative way to get businesses to report their income and pay taxes - through the consumer. The Chinese government tackled the problem by requiring businesses to have receipt machines – fapiao – which record every business transaction and is impossible to be manipulated. In order to encourage consumers to demand fapiao from businesses, the Chinese government made each receipt a free lottery ticket, which could win the owner up to 5,000 yuan (approx. $725.00).

One Last Incredible Lottery Fact: Anyone Could Win!

We've got one last incredible lottery factoid for you: you could be lucky and win! If you think you're someone who deserves to win the lottery, give yourself a chance to make lottery history by playing the lottery online with theLotter now!