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The history of the SuperEnalotto

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The SuperEnaLotto is one of the most famous lotteries in the world, and probably the most popular one in Italy. It's well-known for the huge prizes it offers, as the jackpots are usually among the largest in the world. This means that even though the chances of winning the jackpot are still very low, many players think it's worth giving a try for just one Euro per game.

The history of the SuperEnalotto

Photo: By Salvatore Capalbi - originally posted to Flickr as DSC_2445, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7636338; Changed by Richárd Seres-Nagy (cut)

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The predecessor of the SuperEnalotto is the Enalotto that was first organized in the 1950's, but it was changed to SuperEnalotto in 1997, right after Sisal acquired EnaLotto in 1996. The change was necessary because people were starting to loose interest about the game, so the sales went quite down.

In the new game, players needed to select six numbers from 1 to 90, and the numbers were drawn from the city wheels of Bari, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, and Venice as the city providing the Jolly number. Of course, occasionally one or more of the numbers were drawn more than once by the different wheels, but if this happened, then the next number was used instead.

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The first SuperEnalotto draw was held on December 3, 1997, and the numbers selected were 20, 36, 39, 41, 72 and 76, while the Jolly number was 88. The jackpot was not won that time. In fact, the first time a jackpot was won on the SuperEnalotto was on January 17, 1998, when the lucky winner from Poncarale, Brescia got 11.8 billion Lires.

While the prizes were rather big, the number of winners remained relatively low. The introduction of the SuperStar was intended to solve this problem. For an additional price, the players could select a SuperStar from a number pool from 1 to 90, and if they guessed it right, then their prizes were larger. Also, the number of winners could be expanded with this additional game option.

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Talking of large prizes: the biggest ever single-ticket jackpot on the SuperEnalotto was won on October 30, 2010 after 8 months of rollovers. The prize won was €177.7, but as a syndicate of 70 winners took the prize, it was shared between them. The second largest single-ticket jackpot was won on August 22, 2009, and as only one winner won, he could keep all of the €147.8 million prize.

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In the game, the players need to choose 6 numbers out of the 90, and if their numbers all match, they win the jackpot. Beside the jackpot, there are five prize levels ranging from smaller to larger prizes depending on the number of matches. There's also a Jolly number that makes a 5+1 match possible, but this does not affect any other prizes than the second one. To win in the last prize category, a player needs 2 matches.

The odds of winning the jackpot is 1 : 622,614,630, and the probability of a 5+1 match is still just 1 : 103,769,105.

Anita Diós