If you’re thinking about playing games of chance in South Africa, you can easily consider the lottery. In case you’ve never played before and don’t know where to start, here is a quick guide on everything you should know about the lottery in this country.

The legality of lottery

When it comes to the legality of the practice, you can rest assured that playing the lottery in South Africa is allowed. Although gambling is regulated and online casinos are prohibited in the country, the National Lottery operated by ITHUBA Holdings is an exception to the rule and you are free to pick from eight games that are offered. However, it must be noted that you need to be 18 or older.

A short history of the lottery in South Africa

Gambling in the country has been restricted since 1673 and all forms of gambling except betting on horse racing were banned with the Gambling Act of 1965. When a new democratic government assumed power in 1994, all forms of the practice were made legal. In 1996, a system that allows a single national lottery was instituted and the National Lottery was introduced on 11th March 2000. Thanks to marketing efforts by then-operator Uthingo, almost R70 million worth of tickets were bought in the first three weeks. In 2015, ITHUBA took over the Lotto licenses and introduced a few new games.

The current selection of games you can choose from includes LOTTO, LOTTO PLUS 1, LOTTO PLUS 2, PowerBall, PowerBall PLUS, Daily LOTTO, SPORTSTAKE 13, and EAZiWIN.

How to play the lottery

The National Lottery is available in several ways. For example, you can play online by registering for an account, logging in, and selecting six numbers from 1 to 52. You can also opt for Quick Pick that will randomize your numbers. In addition to the LOTTO, you can also enter LOTTO PLUS 1 and LOTTO PLUS 2 and pick the numbers. Then, you simply have to make a payment and you will receive an email confirmation.

Another option you have is visiting a retail store. There are several retails across the country where you can buy a ticket and choose the numbers you want. Remember to put your name, ID number, and address on the back of the ticket before you make the payment to the cashier. Quick Pick, LOTTO PLUS 1, and 2 are also available with this method.

Furthermore, it’s also possible to play LOTTO via apps, ATMs, and banking websites. You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play, log in, and pick your numbers. If you choose to play at an ATM, you should keep in mind that you can’t pick your numbers as Quick Pick is the only available option. Once you insert your card and enter your PIN, select the ‘more options’ tab, then the ‘prepaid/LOTTO’ tab, and click on the ‘LOTTO/PowerBall’ button. You then have to select the game you will play and decide the number of boards. Confirm your account number and remember to save the receipt. Lastly, you can also play the lottery on your bank’s website by clicking the lottery option and choosing your game and numbers.

The LOTTO draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays on SABC at 20:56 Central African Time while the Daily LOTTO draws are at 21:00 every night except for Christmas. When it comes to PowerBall and PowerBall PLUS, the draws happen on Tuesdays and Fridays at 20:58 on Mzansi Magic and NewzRoom Afrika. If you miss the televised draw, you can always go online to check the latest lottery results on reputable websites. The fee to enter the LOTTO draw is R5.00 per board while LOTTO PLUS 1 and 2 each cost R2.50 and the daily ticket costs R3. PowerBall is R5 and the PLUS is an extra R2.5.

How to win the LOTTO

If the numbers you’ve selected match those that are drawn, you will win the LOTTO. The numbers don’t have to be in the same order and while you only win the jackpot when you match all six numbers, you can still win prizes even if you match fewer numbers. The jackpot prizes roll over to the next draw until there is a winner.

To maximize your chances of winning, there are some tips you can adopt. For example, you want an even combination of odd and even numbers and a mix of low and high numbers. To increase your odds, the sum of your numbers should be between 122 and 196.

What happens if you win

Lastly, if you win, you need to know how to claim your prize. If you purchased a ticket from a retailer, you need to follow their procedure. Depending on the prize, they might pay you in cash, you might have to go to the post office, or visit a regional ITHUBA office. When it comes to playing online or via your bank, up to R49,999.99 will be deposited into your account and bigger winnings, you’ll have to claim in an ITHUBA office. Remember, you have 365 days to claim it.

Now that you’re more familiar with the lottery, it’s time to play. Good luck!

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