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Latest Lottery news: You might've just won!

With so many choices available, how do you know which to choose?

With so many choices available, how do you know which to choose?

Published Nov 15, 2021


Time and time again, we see in the local news outlets calls by the South African Ithuba National Lottery for players to check their lotto tickets & lotto results.

Many players take days, sometimes even weeks or months to come forward and claim their prizes for various reasons.

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But the main reason is that players don’t believe they’ve won! So they don’t even bother checking their tickets or winning numbers.

But the good news is that you CAN win the Lottery: Just ask the hundreds of South Africans who have become instant millionaires!

A short history of the South African Lottery

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In March 2000, then-President Thabo Mbeki launched the National Lottery, and the first live Lotto draw took place 2 days later. On the first day that the lottery went live, more than 800,000 tickets – nearly R70 million worth! – were sold.

The Lottery, initially operated by Uthingo, consisted of a single weekly draw but by 2003, the Lotto Plus game, a supplement to the weekly one, was launched.

Three years later, a new operator, Gidani, was chosen to operate the lottery for a period of seven years.

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In 2015, the baton was passed to current operator, Ithuba who introduced two new games – EAZiWin and Powerball Plus.

Today, there are 8 official games under the South African National Lottery brand:

  • Lotto
  • Lotto Plus 1
  • Lotto Plus 2
  • Powerball
  • Powerball Plus
  • Daily Lotto
  • Sportstake 13

Which lottery game should you play to win?

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With so many choices available, how do you know which to choose? It all boils down to 2 main criteria: Which games you find more entertaining, and your chances of winning.

We can’t help you decide which will be more entertaining, as taste is subjective.

But we can help you decide, based on the statistical chances of hitting the jackpot.

The South African Powerball

Based on past wins, the South African Powerball is the most lucrative game to play. Some of the biggest winnings were registered in the past decade, such as the heart-pounding, eye-watering jackpot reported in 2019 worth R232,331,750!

Generally speaking, the odds of winning the lottery really depend on which game you choose to play. Statistically, the odds of hitting the big one are 1 in 5,245,786.

Can I predict my winning lottery numbers?

Let’s not kid ourselves. The lottery is a game of chance and there is very low possibility of actually predicting the winning numbers ahead of the draw.

BUT, there are things that you can do to possibly tilt the chances in your favour.

For example, you can study the lottery statistics, pick odd and even numbers, pick high and low numbers, avoid picking the same numbers as past winners, and study the losing numbers.

Another tip is to avoid choosing numbers that end in the same digit, such as 23, 33, 43, 53 and so forth.

Note that the majority of drawn numbers are between 122 and 196, so make sure that some of your numbers fall within this range.

There’s a thing called hot lottery numbers. These are numbers that statistically, appear more often in winning draws of specific lottery games, compared to others.

  • For Powerball, the hottest numbers are 37, 3, 13, 41 and 6.
  • For Lotto, the hot numbers are 23, 15, 18, 16 and 13.
  • For Lotto Plus, the hot numbers are 47, 21, 28, 5 and 30.

Some players have been playing lottery numbers for years and never hit the jackpot. However, for some, the system works. Take, for example, the Gauteng player who had been playing the same manually selected numbers for over a decade and finally pocketed close to R38 million in a 2020 draw.

Some players stick to logical sequences and win like that. Like the 20 people who guessed a sequence of 5, 6, 7, 8 and 8, with a Powerball number of 10 and took home R5.7 million each in December last year! This was such a weird and unexpected sequence drawn that the National Lottery Commission even launched an enquiry into it. But it was later shown that there was no foul play and just a lot of luck!

We can all agree that buying multiple tickets instead of a single one will obviously increase your chances of winning. Take the case of the Gauteng man who bet twice on the same numbers in Lotto Plus and walked away with the entire jackpot!

Many articles have been written about how to increase your odds when playing the lottery, and we suggest that you do your homework on this subject. After all, you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of zeroes to gain!

I’ve won the Jackpot! Now what?

It’s truly a dream come true for players when they learn that they’ve won a prize in a lottery draw. But for hundreds of thousands of players each year, this dream turns into reality.

So, what are the practical steps that you need to take when you win the Lotto in South Africa?

This really depends on how much you win and where and how you bought your ticket.

Tickets bought at physical lottery retail stores

Prizes of up to R2,000 can be claimed directly from the store. Simply show the retailer your signed ticket and you can take home your winnings.

Prizes of up to R49,999 can be claimed from any authorized Lotto payment center.

Prizes above R50K need to be verified. For this to happen, you need to fill out a prize claim form and visit your regional Ithuba office. Once the process is complete, the money will be transferred to you.

Tickets purchased online

There are many benefits to buying your lottery tickets online but the main one is that the payout process is particularly fast and simple. If you win up to R50,000, the money is transferred to your account at once. If it is over R50,000, you’ll need to follow the same process as visiting the Ithuba offices physically, as is the case when you buy your ticket at a physical store.

Tickets purchases through local banks

You can buy tickets through a number of local SA banks, including NedBank, FNB and Standard Bank. If you win on a ticket purchased through your bank and your prize is up to R49,999, the money is transferred directly into your bank account. If it is above R50,000, you know the drill already: fill out a prize claim form, visit the regional Ithuba office, have your winnings validated and the money’s yours.

Winning the Lottery: Dream come true or a nightmare?

In theory, winning the lottery should be a dream come true. Even if you’re 100% satisfied in your life, there is always room for a few more million. Who hasn’t dreamed of buying a beautiful new car, upgrading their home, taking a world cruise, putting their kids through university debt-free or simply improving the lives of those around them?

But there’s a flip side. When you’re suddenly so rich, that you don’t have to work another day in your life again, and when you can buy anything you’ve ever wanted, you may lose your direction.

It is very easy for new Lotto jackpot winners to squander their money without thinking or planning ahead. They may even be taken advantage of by “friends” or “well-meaning” family members.

Just look at the case of the 18-year-old from the Western Cape who won R6.7 million and landed up spending it all on just having a good time. Or what about the KwaZulu N. who won R10.4 million in 2009. As soon as he won, he quit his job, made some bad business investments, divorced his wife (who took half of what he had) and then saw his life spiral out of control after he was charged for impersonating a police officer and theft.

So, what can be done to prevent this type of thing from happening?

First of all, this is the exact reason why many South African lottery winners choose to remain anonymous. For safety reasons, it’s obviously better that nobody knows that you’re suddenly so rich. But also, it prevents those so-called friends and long-lost family members from coming out of the woodwork to latch onto your life.

National Lottery Counseling Service for Lotto Winners

The main tool in helping winners keep their feet firmly on the ground after they win is the service offered by Ithuba.

The National Lottery operator offers free trauma counseling to help you make sense of this new surreal experience.

It offers very important free financial advice on what you can do with your money to make sure that it’s not all spent at once, as well as free wealth management advice on ways to invest your winnings.

Why would players not claim their Lotto winnings?

Circling back to our opening paragraph, we see that Ithuba regularly calls for winners to come forward, and the vast majority do in the end.

The biggest winner in South African history, who won a R232 million jackpot, took 7 days to come forward to claim his prize.

But some players will never know if they won, simply because they land up losing or misplacing their lotto ticket.

Another reason is that if players realize that they haven’t won the biggest prize, they don’t bother checking any further to see if they’re a winner of smaller amounts in that day’s draw.

Today, there is nothing simpler than checking lottery results. Ithuba will publish all results from every draw held on its official site, or you can access reputable South African gambling and lottery information portals to see the winning numbers.

Any unclaimed prizes are distributed among worthy charities by the National Lottery.

If you’ve bought a lottery ticket in the past, don’t just throw it away. Take a minute or two to check if you’re a winner. You may be pleasantly surprised! Good luck.

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