We all dream of scooping up a few million rands on the lottery for the New Year. However, if you only have eyes for the South African National Lottery, you're not doing it right. Many of the biggest lotteries on the planet, which pay out billions in prize money every single year, are not just restricted to players in the home country of each draw.

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South African players can access games of chance relating to some of the biggest annual lotteries in the world, as long as they can afford to place a bet. If you’re hoping to buy yourself a house in Houghton in 2020, read on to find out the biggest global lottery events that are open to South African players.

1. El Gordo

Of all of the special lottery draw events in the world, Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ is the most gargantuan. Its name loosely translates to ‘the fat one’ in Spanish, and for good reason. This year’s staggering prize pot is estimated at roughly R38.3 billion, making it the largest lottery event in the world by a wide margin. People across Spain get gripped by ‘El Gordo’ fever every Christmas, with the average person in Madrid spending the equivalent of over R1000 on tickets every year.

The numbers are drawn in front of the Spanish capital’s Presidential Palace, with the whole nation watching to see if they are the one in six entrants who win at least something. Individuals have taken home anything between R1.6 billion and R16, making El Gordo a hugely exciting event. Fortunately, anyone can place a bet on the numbers that will be drawn on El Gordo, meaning that you can attempt to secure a major payday no matter where you are in the world – including South Africa.

2. El Nino

As you may have already guessed from the name, El Nino is essentially a junior version of El Gordo. The name means ‘the child’ in Spanish, and the numbers are drawn in Spain on 6th January, a date known as ‘little Christmas’ when presents are given. Fewer people tend to play and place bets on El Nino, meaning that the chances of getting a payout are considerably higher, although the prizes are lower.

Like its big brother, El Nino is a raffle-style lottery where players can get multiple versions of the same ticket to boost their odds. Of the R11.3 billion prize pot this year, bettors can walk away with a top prize of around R32 million, depending on what type of ticket they opt for.

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3. Mega

Finally, there’s the Brazilian ‘Mega Sena’ lottery, a New Year’s eve draw that virtually everyone in the country participates in. Fortunately, South Africans can place a bet here too, for a shot at the billion-rand prize, which should be more than sufficient to recoup anyone’s Christmas shopping expenditures.

However you choose to play, it is highly recommended that you watch the prize draw online, as there are few lottery events in the world with as much colour, glitter, and showmanship as the Mega Sena. Perhaps most importantly, there are only six numbers in the Brazilian Mega, meaning that the chances of winning are double what they would be with that other popular global lottery, the 12-number Euromillions.

These are the top international lotto events that South Africans can have a crack at in 2019. Rather than sticking to the national lottery, these global events promise a touch of added excitement this festive period.


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