The South African national lottery has a rich and interesting history. The government initiated the launching of the national lottery in 1995, but bids were invited only in 1996. The National Lotteries Act was passed in 1997 and was approved by President Nelson Mandela in November that year. The National Lotteries Board of South Africa was launched in 1998.
Uthingo Management Limited, which was launched in 1996, won its R35 million worth bid to operate the national lottery. The license was ceremoniously awarded to Uthingo in September 1999. When this license expired after seven years, it was renewed and granted to Gidani Limited after Uthingo lost the bid for license renewal.
The National Lottery of South Africa includes a number of lottery games such as Lotto, Lotto Plus, Powerball, Wina Manje ( a type of scratchcard), and Sportstake.
The most popular lottery game, and its main draw, goes under the name of Lotto. Players are required to choose six out of 49 numbers. Six numbers are then drawn at random during the main draw and, if all the six numbers match the selected numbers, the player will win the jackpot. Lotto tickets cost R3.50 and also come with a quick pick option, in which the player allows the lottery outlet to select the numbers for him/her. Players can also grab the Lotto Plus option, in which players pay extra to choose another number.
PowerBall is another exciting lottery game, which requires players to choose five numbers and a PowerBall number. If the numbers match the numbers drawn during the draw, players will win the jackpot.
National Lottery Board
The National Lotteries Board (NLB) was launched as a regulatory body not only for the national lottery of South Africa, but also for the lotteries run to raise funds. The minister of trade and industry appoints the members of the NLB for a five-year term, at the end of which the minister can re-appoint them.
The NLB also manages the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), into which revenue generated by the national lottery is directed and utilized for social welfare activities.
The largest Lotto jackpot worth R100 million was won in June 2011, and shortly before winning it, the owner of the ticket almost chucked it into the bin thinking that he will never win it. This large jackpot, which created a record in South Africa, swelled to nearly $9.5 million after being rolled over 24 times.
Since it was the largest Lotto jackpot ever created in South Africa, almost everybody in the country had purchased a ticket and lottery outlets were overcrowded. The winner had just decided to try his luck; he never thought that he might win the lottery.