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The history of the Canada Lotto 6/49

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Canada has its very own favorite lottery game, which may not be as grandiose as some US games (such as the Powerball or the MegaMillions), but it surely has it's own charm, especially because the odds to win the jackpot are quite good. In this game, the players need to choose six numbers out of the 49 that there are in the pool of numbers, and at least two numbers are needed in order to win in any of the seven prize levels. Yet, sometimes the prize is just a ticket for a next draw.

The history of the Canada Lotto 6/49

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The first lottery draw in Canada was held in 1975, when the Canadian government aimed to provide some additional funds to cover the costs of the Olympic Games that were held in Montreal the next year. Of course, the new game was really popular among the people who were amused by the opportunity - no matter how small it was - to win a million dollars for a ticket that costs so little.

The first Lotto 6/49 tickets were available on June 3, 1982, and the game is still quite popular today, which may partially be because the relatively high chances (odds are 1 : 13,983,816) of winning the jackpot, and partly because even the guaranteed prize winners' prize, which is 1 million Canadian dollars, is quite appealing. Talking about the guaranteed prize: there were 71 tickets that won this prize altogether. It's also interesting to know that more than half of the players play with Quick Pick, meaning that they don't really have lucky numbers, and are fine with playing with random numbers.

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The 6/49 lottery is organized by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, which was established in 1976 with the participation of several regional lottery organizations. By the time the 6/49 game was launched in 1982, it was the only nationwide Canadian lottery game where the players could choose their own numbers - meaning that before that, they could not do this basic thing when playing the big lottery games.

While the game usually attracted many players, there was a time when it became unbelievably popular. The quick surge in popularity happened just after a syndicate of 17 employees from a gas and oil company in Alberta won the record prize jackpot in October 2005. The 54,3 million dollar prize was then shared by the seventeen winners. Their great luck soon became well-known all over the nation, and it led to a “lottery fever”, when on the average, 100 lotto tickets were sold in every minute. In that period of time, approximately two Canadians out of three played on the lottery.

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The 6/49 Lotto had some memorable jackpot prizes, such as the $26.4 million prize won on September 2, 1995, which is interesting because of the fact that it was before the time the ticket prizes were increased.

After that, a single winning ticket won 64 million Canadian dollars on October 17, 2015, which is still the record prize. The second largest jackpot of the game was won on April 13, 2013 - it was a 63.4 million-dollar prize that someone won on that day. The third largest jackpot won was drawn in 2005, this was the one that the gas and oil company workers won.

Anita Diós

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