TORONTO, June 11, 2012 /CNW/ - On June 12, 1982, the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC) conducted the first draw of LOTTO 6/49, Canada's first national online game and one that would revolutionize the future of lotteries in Canada.
Thirty years and almost 3,000 draws later, LOTTO 6/49's performance has been simply spectacular: overall sales of $52 billion, over $24.6 billion in prizes paid out to some 915 million winners, including 3,119 jackpot winners.
"Still going strong today, LOTTO 6/49 is a true reflection of the popularity and growth of Canadian lotteries over the past 30 years" said Robert Ayotte, president of the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation. "Over the years, just about every Canadian has played LOTTO 6/49, and winners have come from all regions, from the smallest to the biggest communities."
LOTTO 6/49 owes its success to the unfailing support of the Canadian public. The recipe for success is simple: an easy-to-play game, appealing jackpots and a range of secondary prizes.
Who among us has not drawn up a wish list, from the most practical to the most extravagant, just in case Lady Luck decides to smile on us? Dreams of freedom, ideas to please family members, friends and, why not, ourselves!
This milestone anniversary will be celebrated in two ways: a draw for three bonus prizes of $100,000 each during all draws between May 30th and June 30th, and with the special 30th Anniversary LOTTO 6/49 Instant Game with tickets offering top prizes of $100,000 and $49,000.
Although the lottery had a modest start, it then grew at lightning speed. In December 1983 and January 1984, a series of draws without a 6/6 winner created an unprecedented frenzy: everywhere in the country, the record jackpot was the topic of conversations, and the media gave it major coverage.
An Ontario couple's win of the $13,890,588 jackpot capped a genuine mass phenomenon. According to a Gallup poll, 11 million out of 18 million Canadian adults participated, either alone or in a group, in the January 14, 1984 draw - that's over 60 per cent of the country's adult population! In September 1985, a second weekly draw was added and sales doubled in the following months.
Over the years, other enticing jackpots solidified LOTTO 6/49's reputation. In September 1995, the announced $24 million jackpot (which grew to $26.4 million) produced national sales of $81 million in only three days!
In 2005, a group of 17 workers from Alberta shared $54.3 million, the highest prize paid out to date by a Canadian lottery. This draw produced record sales of over $99 million!
The influence of LOTTO 6/49 cannot be underestimated. The formula paved the way for multi-State lotteries in the U.S., such as Megabucks and Powerball. Even in Canada, each region successively issued its own version of the 6/49 format: Atlantic 49, Québec 49, Ontario 49, Western 649 and BC 49.
LOTTO 6/49 also brings in considerable revenue to provincial governments. The billions collected have financed a great range of programs benefiting communities.
The world of gaming in Canada has continually evolved since 1982, and LOTTO 6/49 will continue entertaining customers and producing happy winners for a long time to come!
Image with caption: "30 Years of Lotto 6/49 (CNW Group/Interprovincial Lottery Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120611_C7633_PHOTO_EN_14977.jpg