These Differences Between Lottery Players Around the World May Surprise You

Evan Lambert

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Lottery Tickets From All Across World

The concept of the lottery has been around for as long as humans have been alive. It’s also done its fair share of globe-trotting, as evidenced by the multiple versions of it around the world. There’s the U.S.’s Powerball and Mega Millions, of course, but there’s also the European EuroMillions, Eurojackpot, and Vikinglotto, all of which cover multiple regions of the continent. A short flight across the British Channel reveals another “fat one,” El Gordo, which draws Spanish lottery players to its meaty sums. There are even popular lotteries in Poland and Brazil.

But despite the reoccurrence of the lottery around the world, it still generates different habits among different players depending on what country they’re from. This became evident as late as 1999, when a study found that 41 percent of British lottery winners kept their jobs, as compared to over double that number in Americans. The stark contrast revealed, among other things, how deeply connected Americans are to their careers — even when they don’t need one anymore. 

Swedish people, for example, have been found to leave their jobs with more frequency when faced with a lottery win.

Additionally, a Camelot study found that Brits are more likely to spend their lotto winnings on superficial purchases — a car or vacation, for instance — instead of investing or saving their money. (And still, the pound is worth more than the dollar, somehow.) 

This finding was especially surprising considering that the U.K. National Lottery regularly sends financial and legal experts to lottery winners’ homes to offer them financial advice. The study did not say, of course, if those people were doing their jobs.

Of course, the size of a lottery can impact how people respond to it. In Spain, “El Gordo” can soar to heights of over 2.5 billion euros, or 2.7 billion dollars. The stratospheric number inspires some families to save their money for the entire year and then pool it all together for the Christmas drawing. 

This familial approach may also stem from a cultural difference: In Spain, people are more likely to live near their families and interact with them more frequently. Still, in Poland, the far more modest Mini Lotto, which caps at around 67,000 dollars, inspires less passionate behavior. Inversely, it also presents better chances of winning: almost 1 to 850,668.

One misconception — that people with less money are more likely to play the lottery — is proven wrong by the world’s poorer countries. In fact, one study found that countries with higher GDP were more likely to have more lottery players. However, that relationship became inverse after a certain point: Once a country reached a certain GDP, its number of players started to decline slightly. With this, one could disprove the notion that lotteries are inherently regressive and unfair towards poorer people. That said, countries with higher rates of education generally sold less lottery tickets, indicating that informed citizens have a better understanding of their chances at winning.

Ultimately, these ongoing studies about lottery winners around the world suggest a rich international tapestry of cultures and traditions. But one common denominator remains: The idea of winning a ton of money overnight sounds pretty cool.