19 Hard-to-Believe Lottery Facts That Will Leave You Amazed in 2023

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Welcome, participant!

Wanna try your luck?

Well, the lottery is one of the oldest and simplest ways of doing so.

Don’t be fooled, though. Chances of winning the lottery are extremely slim… and even if you do win, there’s no guarantee it would make you happier or it’d be a solution to all your problems.

Today, we have gathered some of the most interesting, crazy, hard-to-believe lottery facts to show you the reality of the world’s most popular gambling medium.

Let’s see what they’re all about!

Ludicrous Lottery Facts (Editor’s Choice):

  • The first lottery instance was recorded in China between 201 and 187 BC.
  • The chances of winning the lottery are nearly 1 in 300 million.
  • Around 37,000 people became scratch-ticket millionaires.
  • The largest US lottery jackpot win is $1.59 billion.
  • 48% of people who won the lottery kept working at a daytime job.
  • In 2009, 11 states received more money from selling lottery tickets than from citizens’ income taxes.
  • The average American spends $218 on the lottery per year.

Lottery History Facts

The lottery needs no introduction. The hopes of an “easy win” have been a part of people’s desire for quite a long time. Thus, its lucrative business model has no hardship sucking people in. Here are some facts about it and its history.

1. The first lottery instance was recorded in ancient China.

(Source: FactRetriever.com)

It’s tough to say who started the lottery because it goes such a long time back. Since keno slips were recorded first between 201 and 187 BCE in China, then we can presume it originated from there. Legend has it that the lottery tickets were used to fund government projects. Considering the time period, we’re probably talking about the Great Wall of China. On the other hand, the modern-day country didn’t start using such tickets for institutions until the late 19th century.

2. The lottery makes money through ticket commissions.

(Source: Investopedia)

How does the lottery make money? Well, it’s actually pretty simple—lottery retailers collect a small percentage of each ticket’s price tag as a commission. The size of it depends on the retailer—for instance, Powerball, one of the biggest American games of this type, only takes 6% off a ticket’s worth.

3. As of March 2022, Powerball is sold in 48 US lotteries.

(Source: Powerball)

Lottery stats like that are clear evidence to Powerball’s huge advancement during its 30 years of existence. At the time of its inception on April 22, 1992, it was only featured in 15 lotteries. What’s more, as of August 23, 2021, Powerball started airing every Monday as well as Wednesday and Saturday, for three weekly draws.

4. 25% of the money spent on the National Lottery goes to good causes.

(Source: EverythingWhat.com)

Facts about the biggest lottery in Britain suggest it’s been fighting for good causes since its inception. It even allegedly gives a quarter of its earnings to charity, as set out by the British Parliament. Though, nobody can tell for sure that money goes where it’s supposed to—after all, part of this amount was commonly named stealth tax.

5. Movies funded by the National Lottery won 14 Academy Awards and 32 BAFTAs.

(Source: The National Lottery)

One of the relatively unknown lottery facts is that the National Lottery funds are used by the British Film Institute (BFI). That’s how movies like The King’s Speech, The Last King of Scotland, and Billy Elliot all came to life. Those are movies that won 14 Oscars and 32 BAFTAs combined!

Lottery Demographics

It’s safe to assume the lottery is pretty popular all around the world. There’s hardly a country that doesn’t have its own take on it.

That makes its demographics even more interesting. You’d be surprised to learn what’s the average age of lottery fans and how much money they spend.

6. The US lottery is mostly played by people aged 45-54.

(Source: Statista)

Statista’s lottery statistics tell us that it’s the most popular among people aged between 45 and 54. However, the difference between the separate age groups is practically nonexistent. 75% of people in this age range play the lottery on a regular basis. They are followed by 70% of people aged between 55 and 64, 69% of those aged 35-44, and 67% of all between 25-34 years old.

7. 11 states in America received more money from lottery tickets than from citizens’ income taxes.

(Source: Best Life)

It’s rather astonishing to learn how much money the lottery’s actually making! Did you know that in 2009, 11 American states got more money from tickets than from taxing citizens’ income? We wouldn’t say taxes are so low, the lottery is just that popular.

8. People spend more money on playing the lottery than on all other forms of entertainment.

(Source: Best Life)

In 2014, Americans spent over $70 billion on lottery tickets. Believe it or not, that’s around $7 billion more than all other major entertainment forms! That same year, sports tickets brought in $17.8 billion in revenue, books—$14.6 billion, video games—$13.1 billion, cinema box office—$10.7 billion, and music—$6.8 billion. All of which equals exactly $63 billion—still $7 billion short of the lottery’s revenue for the year.

9. The average American spends $218 buying lottery tickets each year.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

Imagine every single American was a lottery player. Now consider there are somewhere around 330 million of them. By doing so, we can conclude that every American spends $218 on the lottery every year. But wait, it gets even worse. That would be the average sum in case everybody played. Since many of the citizens don’t, the average amount is actually much higher.

Lottery Winner Facts

If we had to guess, this is probably what you came for. You’ve imagined yourself winning the lottery countless times and were contemplating what you would do with the money. Here are some stats showing how tough it actually is to win. Also, what you mustn’t do, should you do win, after all.

10. The chances of winning the lottery are nearly 1 in 300 million.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

How rare is it to win the lottery? Definitely one of the most popular questions people ask. After all, that’s what they ought to know when they consider trying their luck. Unfortunately, the chances of winning the biggest prizes are pretty negligible.

As of 2022, lottery statistics suggested the chance of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.5 million, while the odds of winning big in Mega Millions are 1 in 302.6 million!

11. The biggest lottery jackpot win in US history is $1.59 billion.

(Source: Powerball)

As low as the odds are, some people still manage to accomplish the impossible.

Among the most impressive and jealousy-producing lottery winners statistics is this one—in January 2016, somebody won $1.59 billion off of a $2 Powerball ticket! Can you imagine? Six years later, this remains the biggest lottery win not just in US history but worldwide as well.

12. Around 37,000 people became millionaires thanks to scratch tickets.

(Source: ScratchSmarter)

If there’s something that these lottery ticket statistics show, it’s that people really love scratch cards. They are cheap, simple, and still can bring you the big bucks if you have a little bit of luck. They don’t hand out the biggest prizes but are still responsible for a huge number of winners. No matter their financial situation beforehand, around 37,000 people can call themselves millionaires thanks to scratch tickets.

13. 48% of lottery winners continue working a daytime job.

(Source: PlayUSALotteries)

One may think that the majority of lottery winners would just quit their jobs and live it up. Contrary to this popular belief, most lottery winner statistics and facts suggest the opposite.

Not all winners keep their 9-to-5, but nearly half of them keep working in general. Around 15% of them find another job, while a staggering 45% try their hand at entrepreneurship.

14. There are downsides to winning the lottery, too.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

And we’re not just talking about relatives asking you for money.

Lottery facts remind us that many people were scammed, chased, and even killed because of their winnings. Some winners even experienced the so-called “lottery curse,” resulting in something terrible happening to them after winning.

One of them is pretty well-known for wishing he’d torn the winning ticket apart before cashing it.

The reason? After he won the lottery, both his daughter and granddaughter died of a drug overdose.

15. You’re 1,100 times more likely to die between Friday and Monday than to win the lottery.

(Source: Bandolier)

With winning the lottery being so unlikely itself, there just aren’t any death statistics for lottery winners. There are, however, plenty that divide chances of winning and dying.

For instance, you’re much more likely to die at the end of the week than win the lottery. This includes nearly all possible causes of death. Being struck by lightning is the only one that’s less likely than winning the lottery.

16. Lotto winners go bankrupt within three to five years more often than the average American.

(Source: lovemoney.com)

Many winners squander their money at alarming rates. That’s why bankrupt lottery winners' statistics are pretty important and interesting. A substantial number of winners went completely broke just less than five years after their big win. Apparently, it’s the reckless lifestyle that eventually drives them insane. But you’d be surprised to hear it’s not greed we’re talking about.

17. Many winners become broke because of their generosity.

(Source: Best Life)

Believe it or not, winners don’t go broke that often because of splurges. They more often become broke because they want to help as many people as possible. Well, hitting the lottery can not only affect your relationship with your loved ones, but drain your money very quickly as well.

18. The percentage of lottery winners that go bankrupt in several years ranges from 44% to 70%.

(Source: Best Life)

It all depends on who you ask.

Lottery statistics data conducted by Camelot Group puts it at 44%—pretty significant info as the group runs the British National Lottery. The National Endowment for Financial Education, however, gives an estimation at around 70%. No matter the actual numbers, we can conclude the winners’ financial decisions are questionable at best—something to keep in mind should you actually win it all.

19. As of late May 2021, the federal government takes around 24% of your lottery winnings.

(Source: KIRO 7)

Should you win the jackpot, the average lottery payout is actually well below 100%, more specifically—24% to 37% lower. And that’s just the federal government tax. Let’s not forget about the state tax rates, which can vary greatly.

In North Dakota, the state tax is among the lowest for the US—2.9%. The highest are in New York—8.82%. Some states don’t even have a state tax for such winnings. Guess, where one lives is pretty important to lottery winnings as well.

Wrap Up

Well, you’re out of luck—that’s all the lottery facts we have prepared for today. Do understand that, while chances of winning the lottery are a joke, winning it is not. We hope you enjoyed our collection and remember—it’s not all fun and games, since not everybody gets happier and without any problems after a big win.

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.