There’s a wide variety of competitions out there on the web, but one we’ve not really focused on before is Lotto, often referred to by its old name of the National Lottery. It’s almost become a part of normal life now, with the draws not always even making it onto live TV.
If you compare that to the years following the launch of the weekly draw back in 1994, it’s barely recognisable. The first few months of draws were riding on a huge wave of publicity, with people believing it really could be them that became a millionaire next. Back then, it was a simple weekly draw, costing a pound per line and odds of winning were around the 1 in 14 million mark. If that wasn’t enough of a long shot, entering now costs twice as much, and the chance of winning the jackpot is less than a third, just outside 1 in 45 million.
That’s all the boring side for most people though, where the National Lottery, run by Camelot, really succeeds is by selling a dream. The majority of players come from low income areas, which stands to reason, as you’re much more likely to buy into the idea of easy money if you aren’t particularly wealthy. For these households, often near the so called poverty line, the lottery provides hope that one day they’ll climb out of their situation, even if those odds make it a tiny chance.
Speaking to anyone who regularly plays Lotto, the conversation will soon turn to the plans they have for spending that jackpot, when they win. It can sounds as if it’s a given, with the players appearing to be convinced that it’s just a matter of waiting their turn.
Common dreams include holidays with beaches in the sun and fast cars, but some players are more grounded, with sensible plans worked out such as paying off the mortgage, home improvements to make their family safer or just to invest for a rainy day. The spectrum is striking, and statistically, the players who are planning to save any wins are much more likely to escape from Britain’s council estates than those who plan to spend, spend, spend. It’s an interesting observation, as it clearly demonstrates that those individuals have the ability to shape their own financial future, so perhaps that skill would be all the more powerful by not ‘investing’ in their lottery lines in the first place!
So, what have lottery winners in the past done with their winnings? That too is very varied, ranging from those who luck once favoured ultimately ending bankrupt, while others managed to harness their new found wealth, using it to fund new business ventures, and becoming yet more wealthy.
The lottery has been a unique competition in British history, with specific authorisation from government to even exist. While there are other charitable equivalents, none have the same magnitude, and none have come close to enjoying the same level of success. It’s contributed significantly to the perception of what a million means, and is probably directly responsible for people considering that a million pounds is a normal number, where in reality those people probably have no clue just how big the number is in practical terms.
It seems, therefore, appropriate to finish as we started, echoing the fact that Lotto really sells a dream, and for as long as people believe in that dream, to borrow the slogan from the early advertising campaign, it really could be you.