U.K.’s National Lottery Celebrates 15th Birthday; More Than 2,300 Millionaires Created

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The U.K. National Lottery (don’t you wish we had one here in the U.S….. rest assured, we will some day) is 15 years old.

In that time period more than 2,300 millionaires have been created, writes Craig McQueen, a correspondent with the Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper.

McQueen tells us that about 70 per cent of the UK’s adult population regularly play lottery games and four million winners scoop a prize every week.

Here are some other things that Americans don’t know about the UK National Lottery.

If you are reading this from the UK (or plan to visit and play), 38 is the most frequent number, drawn 251 times since 1994. The unluckiest number is 13, having been drawn the least.

The biggest Scottish lottery winner is Angela Kelly, who scooped £35.4 million on EuroMillons

Queen Elizabeth I set up the first British National Lottery in 1566.

The youngest known lottery winner was 16-year-old Tracey Makin who collected £1,055,171 in 1998. The Belfast schoolgirl had only been playing the National Lottery for a few weeks after her 16th birthday when she hit the jackpot. She bought her mother a gold watch and her brother a car.

Nine out of 10 of Scotland’s top free tourist attractions have received lottery funding, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, The National Gallery Complex, The Falkirk Wheel and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

Total yearly sales of National Lottery products are greater than the combined annual sales of Coca-Cola, Warburton Bread, Walkers Crisps, Hovis Bread, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Nescafé, Andrex, Lucozade, Kingsmill Bread and Robinson’s soft drinks.

One in every 31,333 adults in the UK is a millionaire jackpot winner.

Lottery funding has enabled more 42,000 World War II veterans to revisit sites around the world where they served in battle.

One in six people are likely to know a big winner but four out of five cannot name a lottery project in their community.

Scotland’s youngest lottery winner was 17-year-old Stuart Donnelly who won £1,923,077 in1997. He was a laboratory assistant at a chemist shop in Neilston, Renfrewshire, at the time of his win.

The biggest jackpot prize was £42,008,610 on January 6, 1996 and was shared by three ticket-holders.

Jackpot millionaires give an average of 38 per cent of their winnings to family and up to 10 per cent to friends. Two-thirds of winners have donated at least a tenth of what they won to charity.

The oldest jackpot winner was 87-year-old Gracie Vera Coulson, who was one of five syndicate winners at a residential home in Lincoln in 1999. They shared £5,451,939. The oldest individual winner was 85-year-old Reginald Smith, of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, who picked up £ 2,371,361 in 2003. The retired lorry driver pledged to book a place in a grandstand box at the racecourse in the town.

The odds of winning the lottery are one in13,984,816. You’ve got more chance of becoming a saint at one in 20,000, being killed by lightning at one in 60,000, being eaten by a shark at one in 3.7million, or being killed in a plane crash at one in 10.5million.

The EuroMillions jackpot is even less attractive, with odds of one 76,275,360.

A majority of lottery winners – 51 per cent – claim to have always known they would win one day.

Ain’t that cool?

Damn the odds. Someone always wins, right? Why not you? Or me.

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Married to a beautiful (and extremely intelligent--- smarter than I am) South African woman. One child (brilliant). I've written three books, only one now available. Editor in chief of magazines...former managing editor .... news reporter, magazine writer, joker, sometimes a fool, lottery expert, lover of old, classic movies, music fanatic, Science Fiction fan (Warhammer 40,000, Game of Thrones). Goal for next year: Walk the Camino de Santiago. Into metaphysics, Esther Hicks (Abraham), Louise Hay

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