Playing and Winning the Lottery

We do it. Many of our friends do it, in fact, I know of very few people who have never played the lottery. The Swiss have a national lottery, the funds go to sponsoring sports I believe. If you are lucky enough to win big or relatively big then the canton holds out its hand and wants its share. Not fair because if you win at a casino then what you win is yours – so where’s the difference? Whatever. At the moment that is the way it is. So, if you win and live in the canton of Berne, then you have to share about 1/3 of it with the canton.

The Swiss Lottery

Swiss Lottery

Over the years the national lottery has changed and become increasingly difficult to win; more numbers, less payout unless you win big. They have also created more games to spend your hard earned money on and they have made it easier to play through the Internet.

If it is more difficult to win then what’s the use in playing at all, you might ask. Well, obviously someone wins, so it could very well be you, or better yet, me. At the moment you have to get 6 out of 42 numbers right, along with a “lucky number” (a number from 1 to 6). Your chances of getting all 7 right is 1 to 31’474’716.

To put that into perspective, say you are travelling from Hamburg to Sicily by car. Somewhere along the route there is a line on the road and one on your tire. You can stop once and if you stop on that line and the line on your tire and on the road match, you won. If you play the European Lottery your chances are even more dismal: 1 to 116’531’800. Then again, like I said, someone wins, why not me?

All in all since 1979 there have been 870 millionaire winners in Switzerland. A couple of years ago, someone made a documentary film about the first Swiss lottery millionaire. The poor man made a lot of mistakes and it didn’t turn out well for him. He got several investment tips from his boss. One of which was to purchase some real estate and let the money do the work, which he helped the winner do. But that wasn’t enough, the winner really only wanted to own a home. He took charge of his money and sold the real estate with a loss, bought a house and things went downhill fast from there including his marriage. The man still dreams of winning a second time but is much worse off than before.

Winning twice sounds like next to impossible but we know a lawyer who had a client who won twice (in the same year!). Unfortunately, the fact that he needed a lawyer is not a good omen. Of course we are not privy to any details.

Personally we know one of those 870 Swiss lottery millionaires. This person did some serious investing and is still married so it looks like it doesn’t have to be a downhill ride for every winner.

We have never won the jackpot but we got 5 out of 6 numbers correct 3 times. Each time we were pleased that we got the extra cash (of course we were, who wouldn’t be?). Once it was right before my parents came to visit us. We treated them and us to a weeklong cruise down the Rhine River. That was really nice and we have some great memories.

A couple of years ago I did some drawings for a computer based training to show how small your chances are to win anything in the lottery. Everything they said made sense. They showed you how miniscule your chances are of winning and that it is a waste of invested money. They created an online game that didn’t cost anything to play. It showed you how easy it was to lose a lot of money, fast. Really? I tried the game. Unfortunately the second time I played, I “won” the jackpot. All their logic went down the drain. Someone does win occasionally and that time it was me. Too bad it was only a game.

But, like I said, someone wins and that someone could very well be us. It could be in real life and not just a game. So, until then we will continue to play and hope that when we win that we do everything correct and not make a mess out of our lives.

On the other hand, when I think about it, I’ve got a super husband and live in a beautiful home. I have a great and happy life. I know deep down inside that I already have won big, really big in the lottery. Not much to top there.

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