Dec 15

Alabama Could Get Vote on State Lottery

The voters of Alabama will have their say over whether the state should launch its own lottery if a bill introduced by House Representative Alan Harper is passed. Harper will put forward the proposal when the legislative session convenes for 2016 and he has the support of politicians including Mac McCutcheon, who represents District 25. McCutcheon told WAFF “I would be in favor of a lottery if the people of Alabama had the right to vote on it.”

If the bill were to be passed, the vote could take place in November of next year, once details had been worked out as to how it would be run and where the revenue would be distributed. Neighboring state Tennessee, where a significant number of Alabamians travel to play popular draw and instant games, donates a portion of its lottery revenue to grants and scholarships for students in the state’s educational establishments. Some politicians in the state would rather the proceeds were transferred to the general fund.

Alabama is one of only six states in the US not to offer a lottery to its citizens, the others being Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. A proposal by Senator Paul Sanford that would have seen Alabama join Mega Millions and Powerball was halted in September when the Tourism and Marketing Committee delayed a vote on the measure having debated the bill. Sanford had suggested creating a lottery as an alternative to tax rises in the state.

The public voted against the idea of an Alabama state lottery in a 1999 referendum, but Harper insists that attitudes may have changed and is keen to canvas the opinion of the electorate in 2016, stating, “People have constantly asked us, ‘When are you going to let us vote on a lottery?’ I think it’s time the people had their say.”

by Mike Redfern
Updated December 31st, 2015

Dec 15

UK EuroMillions Puts on Mega Week to Celebrate Christmas

EuroMillions players in the UK have the chance to mark Christmas in style by winning a fantastic non-cash prize in either draw next week. There is traditionally a Mega Friday draw on the final Friday EuroMillions draw of each month, giving multiple ticket holders the opportunity to win £1 million ($1.5 million) plus a special non-cash reward, but as it is December it has been announced there will instead be a Mega Week.

There will be five UK winners of the Millionaire Maker on Tuesday 22nd December and a further five on Christmas Day itself, making a total of ten players who are guaranteed to land a seven-figure sum of money. This month, the winners will all get to fly out to Sweden and enjoy a seven-night stay at the luxurious Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Are.

Alongside up to seven guests, the winners will be able to use the villa’s spa facilities and call on a professional chef to cook three meals a day for them. They will also be able to enjoy a range of activities depending on whether they travel in summer of winter, such as a snowmobile safari, kayaking or a two-hour zip-line experience.

Players will receive one entry into each Mega Week draw for every EuroMillions ticket they buy, meaning that if they miss out on Tuesday they could still strike it lucky on Friday to make it the perfect Christmas.

Participants everywhere will also be chasing the EuroMillions jackpot right throughout the festive period. The top prize currently stands at €83 million ($123.7 million) ahead of the draw on Friday 18th December following a run of seven rollovers, having not been won since a single player from Portugal scooped €163.5 million ($243.8 million) on Friday 20th November. Tickets can be bought online or from authorized retailers in any of the participating countries and are sure to be snapped up in droves.

by Mike Redfern
Updated December 18th, 2015

Nov 15

Parents Warned Against Giving Scratchers to Kids This Christmas

This Christmas, 38 lotteries across America are joining together to urge parents not to give lottery scratchers as presents to their children as gifts. In New York, under-18s are banned from buying the tickets, with the age limit standing at 21 if alcohol is served on the premises, but there is no law to stop a minor claiming a prize won on a game.

However, the lottery can issue a check in the child’s name for amounts under $5,000 and ensure that it is entrusted to an adult family member or guardian. For larger amounts, winnings are placed in an adult’s bank account and they act as custodian for the young winner.

Even with these safeguards in place, New York’s Gambling Commission is driving the message home through the Responsible Play Partnership, claiming it is a vital tool in the fight to prevent children developing gambling problems in the future. The commission is working in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling, whose executive director Keith Whyte agrees that buying scratchers for children is inappropriate, arguing in a press release that “gifting children with Lottery tickets sends the message to this impressionable population that youth gambling is acceptable when our research has shown that children who receive Lottery tickets as gifts tend to start gambling earlier in life.”

As part of the campaign, the state is running public-service announcements bearing the message “some gifts are better left to the grown-ups.” The advert shows children on Christmas morning opening disappointing age-inappropriate gifts including tires, dumbbells and a coffee maker.

The Responsible Play Partnership is ensuring all lottery draw tickets and electronic displays at the 18,000 authorised outlets in New York bear the message “Please Gift Responsibly” during the holiday season. In addition, it is reminding retailers of its potential sanctions for those caught selling tickets to underage customers.

The Empire State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services recently reported that five percent of adults are impacted by problem gambling, with one in ten of citizens aged between 12 and 17 affected.

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 27th, 2015

Nov 15

EuroMillions Jackpot Reaches Highest Amount of 2015

EuroMillions players have the chance to win £113 million (€162 million) on Friday 20th November after the jackpot rocketed to its largest amount in over a year. The last time the top prize climbed this high was in October 2014, when a Portuguese ticket holder snapped up the maximum €190 million after the jackpot cap was reached.

There has not been a jackpot winner since one participant from the UK and one from Austria split £23 million (€30.8 million) on Tuesday 13th October, and the top prize has continued to roll over since a Superdraw was held on Friday 6th November.

It is now possible that the jackpot cap could be reached again if there are a couple more rollovers, but players across the continent are sure to be entering the game in droves ahead of tonight’s draw in an effort to match all five main numbers plus both Lucky Stars.

Anyone who manages to strike it lucky and land the jackpot will take their place among the biggest winners in the 11-year history of the game. In the UK, Colin and Chris Weir pocketed a magnificent £161.6 million in July 2011, while Adrian and Gillian Bayford landed £148.6 million in August 2012.

France has so far produced the most jackpot winners out of all the countries taking part with 78, just ahead of Spain, Portugal and the UK. The next ticket holder to win big will have to decide whether to go public or stay anonymous, and then plan how they will enjoy their massive windfall. If you would like a slice of a nine-figure sum, then tickets can be bought online or from authorised retailers in any of the countries taking part. Good luck!

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 20th, 2015

Nov 15

Three Players Split Massive Australian Powerball Jackpot

The largest Australian Powerball jackpot of the year was given away on Thursday night as three lucky winners split a First Division prize of AU$70 million. Only once has the jackpot ever climbed higher, when two players shared AU$80 million back in 2009, but the chances of a new record being set were dashed as fans of the game bought tickets in droves.

The winning numbers were 1, 3, 15, 19, 26 and 35 with Powerball 18, as a run of six rollovers came to an end. The winning tickets were sold in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, although two of them were purchased without registered Players Club cards. Tatts Lotteries has urged anyone who played at either the Oaks Flats Newsagency in Illawarra or Tosh’s Convenience Store in Ayr, north Queensland, to check their tickets.

The third ticket was bought at Nextra Riverton in Western Australia and extends a great run of success for players from the state. Lotterywest chief executive Paul Andrew said in The West Australian: “It’s been a record breaking year for WA Lotto winners and we’re absolutely thrilled with tonight’s results and that we’ve managed to add another jackpot winner to our already long list.”

Lotterywest had estimated in the build-up to the draw that more than 1,000 tickets would be sold every minute during the busiest hour of sales, and the increased interest certainly reaped rewards for many players across the eight different prize tiers. The jackpot will now reset to AU$3 million for next Thursday’s draw, giving players another chance to win big.

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 13th, 2015