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Strange Lottery Prizes

The Craziest Lottery Prizes in the World

South Africans will be familiar with the traditional cash prizes for local lotteries, and some of these can undeniably be generous in their payouts. However, you might be surprised by some of the unusual jackpots offered by other draws around the world. Here's a look at some of the crazy lottery prizes and unique rewards won in our own beloved Africa and around the world.

1. Bitcoin Prize

Cryptocurrency is becoming more and more popular. There is even a Bitcoin Lotto these days. The value of one Bitcoin is approximately R420,000, so winning even a few units could make you a millionaire. 


Whether Ethereum is ever used in lottery draws, though, remains to be seen. "Our view is that Ethereum has some performance issues that make it unsuitable for the kind of thing we’re doing," said Crypto Millions Lotto chief executive officer Sulim Malook recently.

2. Rewards for Vaccines

Not so much unusual lottery prizes, as an unusual competition. In 2021, in Ohio in the United States of America, a so-called Vax-a-Million draw took place. Governor Mike DeWine launched the lottery with the goal of encouraging residents to get Covid-19 vaccinations, as the area had a relatively low uptake. 


Full scholarships were among the prizes. "I'm more than happy - very, very happy - with the results," said DeWine.

3. Hotel Stay Jackpot

Apps like Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Badoo, Plenty of Fish and Grindr allow people to meet potential romantic partners, but they haven’t gone as far as Forget Dinner. In 2014, the United Kingdom dating platform launched the Sex Lottery - for users who "aren't fussed about food." The main prize was a night in an upmarket hotel suite, complete with pole-dancing apparatus, ceilings with mirrors and other provocative features.

4. Pope Visit

In terms of crazy lottery prizes, a visit from the Pope has to be right at the top of the list. The esteemed Pope Francis once visited the USA in 2015. At the time, the opportunistic city of Philadelphia held a lottery, which effectively gave everyone who entered an equal opportunity to meet the pope. Bronx resident Carmen Esteras won the only ticket to attend the joint meeting of congress with His Holiness. In a South African context, this would be like someone from Gauteng winning a ticket to visit Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

5. Bacon Bonanza

If you've been to Bacon on Brie in Cape Town or purchased delicious pork products from a local butcher in Pofadder, you're probably a fan of bacon. This is right up your alley. The Indiana State Lottery held the Bringing Home the Bacon draw in the past. The scratch cards were scented with bacon and a prize alternative to cash was a supply of bacon for two decades. Just think how many scrumptious BLT sandwiches one could make with a 20 year supply of free bacon.

6. Big-Ticket Beer

When it comes to beer, we've got it pretty good in South Africa, with Jack Black, CBC, Mad Dog and other award-winning craft beers available widely and relatively inexpensively. What we don't have, though, is a beer lottery. 


Kern River Brewery in California, USA, did. Their popular Citra Double IPA was in such high demand that they had prospective customers register on their website, which in turn afforded new patrons entry to a lottery to buy a maximum of 6 bottles of the premium beer. Not only one of the most unusual lottery prizes, this also required people to still purchase their own winning items!


Each bottle costs the equivalent of approximately R300, so a six-pack would set you back about R1800. Every single sip, therefore, would really need to be savoured.


Sometimes, crazy lottery prizes are just a way for companies to make the headlines, but they can also be a lot of fun and lead to you winning some weird and wonderful items. There are always new and exciting lotteries out there as companies think about how they can add some excitement or get some attention for their products. Some lotteries are all about giving life-changing prizes, but don’t expect a visit from the pope to be a regular incentive!