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Lotto is South Africa's first national lottery game and was introduced on Thursday 2nd March 2000. The game was publicly unveiled by President Thabo Mbeki at the Yeye Butchery in Langa, just outside Cape Town, and the first draw was held on Saturday 11th March 2000. Initially the lottery consisted of just one Saturday draw but, due to the popularity of the game, a Wednesday draw was added in October 2001.

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How to Play Lotto

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To play Lotto, players must choose six numbers from a pool of 49 and pay R5.00 per ticket. Prizes range from a fixed R50 for matching three main numbers up to the jackpot for matching all six main numbers drawn. A Bonus Ball is selected at random after the six main numbers and boosts prizes for those who match it with three, four or five main numbers. Lotto draws take place at 21.00 SAST on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Lotto Prizes

Lotto has a total of seven winning prize tiers:

Category Match Percentage of Prize Fund Odds of Winning
Jackpot Match 6 60.1% 1 in 13,983,816
2nd Prize Match 5 + Bonus Ball 6.5% 1 in 2,330,636
3rd Prize Match 5 5.4% 1 in 55,491
4th Prize Match 4 + Bonus Ball 9.9% 1 in 22,197
5th Prize Match 4 8.9% 1 in 1,083
6th Prize Match 3 + Bonus Ball 9.1% 1 in 812
7th Prize Match 3 Fixed R50 1 in 61
Overall odds of winning a Lotto prize are 1 in 54

The South African Lotto jackpot starts at approximately R1 million and, if no player is able to match all six numbers to win the jackpot, the top prize rolls over to the next draw. There is no jackpot cap in place, which means that prizes can grow to substantial amounts.

The largest jackpot seen to date was R58.3 million for the draw on Wednesday 24th April 2013 and was shared between two ticket holders. The biggest jackpot won by a single ticket holder was in the draw on 8th March 2006 and totalled R34.2 million.

Players have 365 days to claim their prize, with 50 percent of any unclaimed prizes allocated to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund for the support of good causes across South Africa.

Playing Lotto Online

Playing South African Lotto online is quick and easy thanks to a lottery ticket concierge service. Simply visit the Buy Tickets page to read about how the service allows you to purchase tickets for lotteries both in South Africa and around the world.

Playing Lotto at a Retailer

You can buy South African Lotto tickets from authorised retailers across the country, but keep in mind that ticket sales close 30 minutes before the draw is held. When purchasing a ticket in this way, please ensure that you keep it safe as you will need to produce it should you win a prize. It is also strongly recommended that you sign the back of the ticket so that there is no question of ownership if the ticket is lost or stolen.