Like much of Australia’s rich past, Australian lotteries have provided an equal mix of recreational fun and revenue generation for the nation and/or states over time. Lottery operators must be licensed at the state and territory level, but that’s where uniformity ends. Aussie lotteries can be run by state government-owned, non-profit and private sector entities.
History of Australian Lotteries
Dig deep into the roots of Australian lotteries to discover a mixed heritage of illegal sweepstakes that jumped from state-to-state ahead of the law, until Australian governmental authorities realized that gaming enterprises like lotteries could be harnessed to generate revenues for everything from state improvement projects to national economic crises.
Desperate for ways to raise cash when the Great Depression hit in 1931, government officials again intervened with a scheme to hold the New South Wales State Lottery. Recipients of this largesse were both citizenry and municipal entities.
Perhaps most prestigious recipients of lottery revenues are two iconic landmarks: The Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. The completion of the opera house alone required 496 separate lottery initiatives to raise the AU$102 million needed to finish the structure.
Televised state lotteries were first introduced to an anticipatory New South Wales viewing audience in 1979. By the 1980s, state lottery consolidation and a permanent national lottery presence triggered an explosion of new games that have generated a national obsession benefitting all manner of Australian interests.
Established in 1972, the Saturday Lotto has been operated by Tattersall’s since the game’s first draw in June of that year. It’s a favourite of players in New South Wales and Western Australia and it’s known by several other names that include Gold Lotto (Queensland) and X Lotto (South Australia) and the signature “TattsLotto” in ACT, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Victoria. A recent Saturday Lotto payoff (2016) was AU$4 million.
The game follows specific guidelines that must be adhered to if a winner is to collect his prize: Players choose six numbers between 1 and 45, buy their tickets and await the official drawing of six main numbers and two supplementary numbers. To take the entire pot, one must have picked all six main numbers.
The system employed to calculate earnings is “pari-mutuel,” which means ticket sales determine winners within each division. Multiple winners receive a portion of the cash based on that percentage. Odds are posted on the Saturday Lotto webpage and the minimal play for those engaging in the TattsLotto is four games.
In general, overall odds of winning were set at 1 in 85 in early 2017 and if there’s no winner drawn, the pot is rolled over up to four times, at which point the Division 1 prize pool is automatically shared by Division 2 winners.
Prize claims are determined by the method one uses to buy a ticket: If acquired via the lottery’s online “concierge service,” winners are notified by e-mail and winnings are transferred to an online account. Division 1 prize money takes approximately 24 days to be transferred. If the lotto has defaulted to Division 2, payouts are usually disbursed within eight days. Other cash awards usually take 24 hours to be settled.
On the other hand, ticket purchases made at retail are based on award amounts and disbursed at any TattsLotto location, as long as the ticket was bought in the same state. Lack of sufficient available funds may delay payments, particularly if the payoff is large. There is a two-week window for collecting winnings for Division 1 prize recipients.
In an effort to increase funding for community programs throughout New South Wales in 1979, a Monday Lotto was instituted, but this lottery has undergone myriad changes since then. The standard draw time takes place at 7:30 p.m. AEST on Mondays, and results are posted to the Lotto results web page soon after.
Play rules are similar to other Australian lotteries: Consumers pick six numbers from a field of 45 and if they can only win if their numbers match all six of those drawn to take a Division 1 jackpot.
Two supplementary numbers are drawn so players are eligible for additional prizes given to sustain interest in the lottery. Ticket purchases can be made online with winnings paid via electronic transfer; otherwise, e-mail notification may direct the winner to a retail outlet to sort out payment.
The Monday Lotto winning amount tops off at AU$1 million and can be split between four players if a wagering pool is established, but if there are more than four people, that prize pool could top out at AU$4 million annually. Odds of winning are posted on the Monday Lotto web page and are sorted by Divisions 1 to 6, with the highest odds given for a Division 6 match/supplementary number mix.
Approximately five years after the Monday Lotto launched, a Wednesday draw was added to satisfy Aussies hungry for more lottery contests. There’s a slight time difference in the process in that the mid-week draws are held at 10:30 p.m. AEST and winners can find out results fairly quickly if they’re willing to stay up late.
The draw process is identical to aforementioned lottery protocols: consumers choose 6 numbers within the 1-to-45 range within the Division 1 draw, and there are also six tiers of prizes up for grabs and two more balls are chosen after the original six so the amounts of cash dispensed in certain tiers are increased up to AU$1 million.
Like the Monday Lotto, if more than 4 players win a stake in the prize on a single draw, each may be entitled to receive an equal share of an AU$4 million prize. Odds based on a single Wednesday Lotto contest decrease by division; for example, a 1st Division 6-pick match comes with odds that are over 8 million, but a mix and match of partial numbers/supplementary numbers could be as low as 1 in 144.
Purchases made online offer payoffs for winners via electronic transfer, but a player buying a ticket at a licensed retail shop must claim the award in person once numbers have been announced late on Wednesday night.
If you prefer a lottery that’s more complex and comes with higher rewards, Oz Lotto is your wagering choice and will give you something to occupy your mind in-between Monday and Wednesday. Originated in 1994 and proclaimed Australia’s first official national contest, it’s wildly popular because payoffs are so high. The largest? AU$100 million in 2013. Because one in three Aussies bought tickets for this draw, that pot was huge.
Nine balls are drawn at random every Tuesday from a 45-ball cache. The first 7 are considered winning numbers; the other two are supplementary, but all 7 must be chosen in a single game if the wagering party is to be declared a big winner. To get in on the action, purchase a ticket no later than 7 p.m. AEST on Tuesday. The winning ball numbers are usually announced around 8:30 p.m. AEST, so this is a quicker route to learning the lottery’s outcome.
Since there are more numbers in play when this \lottery is decided, players have more opportunities (7) to win. One can pick 7 numbers or opt for a “Quick Pick” assignment in which random numbers between 1 and 45 are chosen for the player. Further, there are options within the Quick Pick system: Oz Standard, Oz System or Oz Pick Entry. High rollers can get in on a “Top Up” draw which offers bigger winnings with higher risks.
Even the name is enough to entice lottery fans to try their luck. Conceived by Tattersall’s in 1996, this lottery’s aim is to give players opportunities to win larger cash prizes than most of the other national lottos.
Thus far, the largest Powerball winner claimed an AU$80 million prize and this is the most widely available contest for gamers since tickets can be bought through Lottery West, NSW Lotteries, Golden Casket, the South Australian Lotteries Commission and Tattersall’s. Online ticket purchase is fast and efficient via the lottery concierge.
No need to interrupt your Monday, Wednesday or Tuesday Oz schedule because Australia Powerball is the highlight of the night on Thursdays when wagering stops at 7:30 p.m. AEST followed by the announcements of winners on website results pages fairly quickly. The Powerball field is a bit smaller thus chances of a win are better than most: Pick 6 numbers from 1-to-40 plus a 7th (that’s the Powerball).
Take home the jackpot if you hit with all 7 numbers. For purposes of comparison, while the odds on most Australia lotteries at the 6th level are about 1 in 44, play Powerball and overall odds of winning a prize can be as low as 1-in-78! There’s even a minimal top prize standard that’s set at AU$3 million.
What attracts Powerball fans? Lower odds, convenience, quick results and what may feel like unlimited turn-over potential. If players don’t make a perfect match in successive Division 1 draws, jackpots snowball into the next draw period thus huge amounts of money wind up in each pot, but there is an end in sight for frequent Powerball players: Once the 25th successive rollover takes place, all of the funds are divided among lottery players in the next winning division on the list, so staying in the game could turn out to be fortunate.
Lottery aficionados can forget about keeping a calendar to make sure they don’t miss buying a ticket for a draw on a specific day because Australia Keno draws are held every few minutes, so any time is a good time.
Also known as the 10-20-80 game, this contest requires players to draw 10 numbers from a field of 1-to-80, after which time the lottery itself draws 20, expanding the winning universe. Picking 10 numbers isn’t even required for Daily Keno players; many feel lucky enough to pick just one.
Variety seekers could find in keno wagering more flexibility and exciting because there are many play options to shake things up. For instance, online and in-person Keno differ. If you’re playing online, you’ll use a video format versus the in-person version that requires filling out cards before the draw.
The 80 number choices are called spots, but your chances of hitting a 20-spot win are “astronomical,” which is why Keno players feel they have a better chance of winning by playing only 10 or 15. Veterans advise Keno players that there are no useful strategies for this type of lottery, because numbers are picked at random. Frequent players claim that playing online offers better odds than patronizing a retail outlet.
Set for Life Lottery
Set for Life is the new kid on the Australian lottery scene, having been introduced in 2015. It’s the second generation national lottery following Powerball in 19 years. Play it and every participant is set for life because this game acts like an annuity, sending up to four winners the equivalent of AU$20,000 monthly for 20 years.
Play Set for Life any day of the week you choose by selecting 8 numbered balls from a field of 37 and if picks are on the money, prizes are awarded to players in 7 divisions. Two supplemental balls are also drawn to expand winnings, but these are called Bonus Numbers in Set for Life lingo.
Players choose their own numbers or let the system to choose them through a “QuickSET” system. When time comes to draw, 10 balls are pulled and winning numbers are broadcast via website results pages. There’s a minimum ticket purchase amount of two sets of numbers and these two sets will be entered into drawings held for 7 consecutive days.
Odds decline in favourability as combinations of numbers winnow down from 8 main numbers to 4 plus one or two Bonus Numbers, but for those seeking the grand prize totaling almost AU$5 billion over that 20-year span, there are no lesser goals.
Imagine standing rail side at a horse racing track as you wait for your horse to come in. Fast forward to 2017 and find yourself standing at a virtual rail as thoroughbred horses and greyhounds in animated form compete for Win, Place, Quinella, Trifecta and First Four honours. Fixed returns work exactly as they do at the track, minus inclement weather and track conditions.
Available only in Victoria and New South Wales, Trackside has been a controversial gaming option outside these two states and wagering couldn’t be simpler: determine the number of games you wish to play (up to 100), indicate bet type (win, place or “each way”), mark selections and see which virtual animals cross the finish line first.
Will Trackside find its way to states outside the two currently in play? Not likely. While the animated video game passed muster with the nation’s racing lobby, requests to add Trackside to government-owned TAB outlets has made no progress since 2010.
This Tattersall-run lottery game is run throughout the country with the exception of New South Wales, so you needn’t travel to get in on the action. Super 66 is a piggyback draw because winners are announced right after the nation’s main lotto draw every Saturday at 7:30 p.m. AEST. Buy a Super 66 ticket or mark a box on the ticket that pairs your pick with Powerball, Oz, Monday, Wednesday or Saturday Gold lotteries. Your six numbers will be assigned randomly (0 to 9).
Play as often as you like registering individually or pick up a dozen games by checking the “multiple” box on the ticket. Let your retailer know how many chances you wish to take and the lottery terminal will output your coupon with your chosen picks.
If you’re on a budget, the Super 66 could be your ticket to a win because it’s cheap to get in on the action and the more you play, the more discounts you get. Unlike other lotto types, only one prize per entry is awarded, but if there are two sets of sequential numbers are declared, ticket holders win a higher division prize.
Further, if the Division 1 prize goes unclaimed for 25 consecutive weeks, winners in the next higher division split the money. Buy tickets 10 weeks in advance if you like to plan ahead, plan to travel or don’t want to miss a chance to play–or if you just dislike queuing for coupons at retail. If you wonder why this is called the Super 66, prize amounts range from AU$16,666 at the top all the way down to AU$6.60.
Frequent players know this lottery simply as The Pools because when it comes to the game of soccer, there is no competitor sport that’s as popular. It’s wise to follow Australian and European matches religiously so you know which football team to bet.
Players are asked to choose six matches from 38 staged each weekend, despite the fact that in actuality, there may be 60 meets on the worldwide competitive calendar. The remainder of the matches are put into reserve just in case there’s a postponement or an event is cancelled.
Once all matches are over, lottery officials rank teams using a formula that includes scores, whether a team is playing at home or away and factors in no-score matches. The top six game results determine winners, though there’s a same-ranking result award in which the higher game number wins out.
Lower division prizes are also awarded. Wagers must be settled by 2:30 p.m. AEST every Saturday during Australia’s Southern Hemisphere play season and by 7:30 p.m. AEST during the Northern Hemisphere/European season.
Results are computed the following Monday and top prizes for Division 1 ticket holding winners are at least AU$75,000, but rollovers apply to The Pools lottery so the longer the pot remains in play without a declared winner or winners, the larger it grows.
State-specific Lotto Draws
Given a state’s need for boosted revenues for any number of reasons, Australian law allows state government to launch lotteries that are restricted to their boundaries. According to the National Lottery website, the most popular state draw types are Lotto Strike, Cash 3 and Intralot.
The first, Lotto Strike, operated by NSW Lotteries, will only be found in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Lotto Strike was first introduced in 1993, costs just AU$1.00 plus agent commission to play, but one can only buy the ticket in concert with a standard Lotto play.
Four balls are drawn to determine the winner and it’s possible to win if one has only one corresponding number out of the four needed to win the jackpot, potentially worth AU$100,000. This draw caps at AU$2 million should there be no winner after proceeds are bundled into the next draw.
You must travel to Western Australia if you wish to get in on the Cash 3 lottery because this contest is limited to this state and run by Lotterywest. Seasoned participants feel that this lottery gives them more control over the game because one can choose from ticket costs and focus on three different play types: Exact Order, Any Order or Both Ways. Daily payoffs for winners range from AU$40 to AU $500.
The third most popular state-specific lottery, Intralot, is named for this lottery’s operator. This contest is confined to the states of Victoria and Tasmania, but in 2014, the Tatt’s Group assumed ownership of the franchise in both states.
A popular gaming website compares the nation’s Lucky Lotteries to site visitors as the equivalent of raffle tickets sold to raise money for charity, but in the case of this game of chance, the player is the charity and the investment players make in the game are rather modest at either AU$2 or AU$3 plus modest agent commissions.
Once available only to people living in New South Wales, Lucky Lottery tickets are now sold at all Tattersall’s outlets and have been since 2015.
Rules are not very different than other lottery types throughout Australia in that tickets are “auto-picked” by a computer and disbursed sequentially, but buy 10 numbers or less and one may opt to have numbers dealt out randomly. Though Lucky Lotteries don’t require much investment, jackpots have reached AU$10 million thanks to rolled-over funds when there are no previous winners.
Unlike a set day or time of day, draws are sorted once all tickets are purchased from NSW lottery sites and prizes are available on the following day. Alternately, the AU$2 lottery draw is held each morning (perhaps more than one) because it is popular, but the AU$5 lottery isn’t as well subscribed so more time may elapse before the draw is undertaken. There are big prizes and small ones that range from AU$10 to AU$1,000.
To spice up the Lucky Draw category, special draws are announced from time-to-time, like the Lucky 7 which required players to buy a AU$10 ticket which was then used to qualify the ticket holder for five weekly draws in a row.
Lucky 3 and Lucky 6 lotteries offer prizes of a similar amount to those awarded for Super 66, but perhaps the most high-profile Lucky lottery invited players to match the number 7 exactly to earn the big AU$1 million jackpot. Buy tickets online for the most efficient transfer of winnings.
There has also been a Lucky Lottery Mega Jackpot draw staged to engage players who are eager to vie for a guaranteed minimum prize of at least AU$1 million. Only 200,000 tickets are issued for this category and once sold, the draw can be staged.
Players can ask that their five (maximum) tickets be disbursed in sequential order or at random, but one can’t pick favourites. While the odds of winning a prize are a surprising 1:16, so many cash prizes are awarded to participants; payout could be as low as AU$12.
Buy lucky lottery ticket online by registering yourself online at nswlotteries.com.au at the same price you’d pay in-store. With fast and easy registration process and you’ll be able to deposit funds, choose the number of tickets and put your entries online. Or you can buy at your local NSW Lotteries Outlet.
Call them Instants, Scratchies or Scratch offs, but Australia’s entry into the world-wide popularity of lotteries that provide instant gratification has become a super-phenomenon generating approximately AU$525 million per annum.
Originated in the U.S. in 1974 in concert with the nation’s retail promotions industry, instant lottery cards have since captured the dollars and imagination of Aussies and this easy, fun quick-paying game is now everywhere.
Popular throughout the nation, these paper cards offer consumers an immediate payoff that’s revealed when a coating hiding the amount is rubbed off revealing whether the card purchaser has won or lost. Sold by Tattersall’s and Intralot Australia in denominations of AU$1, $2, $3, $4, $5 and $10, larger-denomination Scratchies are also available at AU$500,000.
Saturday Superdraw Lottery
While the Superdraw Lottery is only staged a few times a year, it resembles the traditional Saturday Lotto in format but the Division 1 prize for one or more winners can total AU$20 million or more. This infrequent event has made several Aussies millionaires. There’s a single draw but it’s commonplace for several ticket holders to share a Division 1 jackpot.
Entering is a fairly simple matter: one selects six numbers between 1 and 45 and if all of them are represented on a winning card, the winner is declared. Players may also win according to a set of matched numbers with and without supplementary numbers, but the Saturday Superdraw isn’t the nation’s highest payout: The Australian National Lottery has been known to stage Megadraws with larger, grander payouts, but these are held more infrequently than Superdraws.
Prize Home and Prize Car Lotteries
In a class by itself, the Prize Home and Prize Car Lotteries are charitable schemes that benefit charities, but the true winners are Aussies bidding nominal amounts of cash for various types of homes donated by top Australian home developers and automobile dealerships.
Consumers peruse array of condos, single-family homes and other residential structures, place a bid and if they win, they take possession of the home. All revenues generated by lottery ticket sales are used to help subsidize charities throughout the country.
Car lotteries operate in the same way: automobiles are donated to charitable causes and winners are drawn once the lottery time deadline ends.
Australians may see more of these types of lotteries in the future as commercial interests receive the benefit of widespread publicity, non-profits acquire much-needed funding and consumers are given yet another opportunity to take a chance on winning.