Lottery gamblers increase their stakes

The Swiss each spend an average of SFr192 a year on the lottery Keystone

The Swiss are forking out ever-larger amounts of money on the lottery. Latest figures show that spending on this form of gambling has risen by almost two-thirds over the past 10 years.

This content was published on July 14, 2000 minutes

Back in 1990 the Swiss were spending about SFr800 million on the lottery. Ten years later that figure has risen to SFr1.4 billion (for 1999). Averaged out over the entire population, that means every person in Switzerland gambled SFr192 last year in the hope of picking up a jackpot.

The Swiss are most enamoured with the national "Schweizer Zahlenlotto". Last year they parted with SFr785 million, nearly 10 per cent more than in 1998. Some 53 per cent of the takings were handed back in prize money.

The upward trend in lottery spending does not mean the better performing lotteries can afford to rest on their laurels. Like any growth industry competition is fierce, and becoming more so.

Next January an alternative lottery aimed at raising money for good causes is to be launched in Switzerland. The idea comes from the Netherlands, where a similar lottery has already raised more than SFr1 billion.

The Swiss version is a joint project between several charities, including Caritas, Helvetas, Pro Natura and Swissaid. For a monthly stake of SFr15, players will be given an individual number based on their postcode and a personal set of figures.

The organisers hope to raise SFr80 million in the first four years. Thirty per cent will be given away as prize money.

Releasing the latest figures, the Justice ministry said that only lotteries, which operated for charitable purposes, were permitted in Switzerland, and that profits should be used primarily for cultural and sporting projects.

swissinfo with agencies

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