In one of hungary’s “toto-lotto” shops a man buys a ticket for the weekly lottery tickets. Below, a child draws the winning tickets from a glass drum.

The Hungarian state lottery (which followed the successful introduction of a football pool in March 1957) provides a good example of how these enterprises work in communist countries.  Lottery coupons have 90 lucky numbers on them of which the bettor must choose five.  Each coupon costs the equivalent of about 25 cents; 50 per cent of the money taken is allocated for the weekly winning fund, and 10 per cent for a further monthly prize raffle.  Operating expenses come off the remaining 40 per cent, and the net profit is then handed over to the state for various public enterprises.  There are four classes of prizes, and the winning fund is divided equally among them.  The “fiver” is the real money-winner, since there are obviously fewer people to share the pool, but prizes are also paid for “fours,” “threes,” and “twos.” If there are no winners of the “fiver,” the total amount of this pool is shared among the winners of “fours,” who thus share a double pool.

Before an assembly of government officials and journalists and under police supervision, six nurses draw winning tickets in the Irish Hospital’s Sweepstakes from the millions of slips in the huge revolving drum. 

The sale of tickets in Hungary has shot from the original weekly total of gamble expanded, the National Savings Bank established a special organization called the Sports Betting and Lotto Management, and a country-wide network was set up to meet the growing demand.  There are 125 shops throughout the country selling lottery and football-pool coupons.  In addition, coupons are sold at all post offices, National Savings Banks offices, and tobacconists; and news vendors, postmen, pensioners, and housewives sell coupons on a commission  basis.  The draw is held every Friday morning, following a special program of music or a fashion display.  Usually the draw is held in a different town or village each week.  There are also monthly big prize raffles for which all the coupons from one week of the previous month (decided by lot) are eligible.  The prizes vary in number and value depending on the number of coupons; but usually there are more than 800 prizes each month, and the lottery organizers issue a 16-page weekly journal that contains official bulletins of the results.

Aside from the representative state-sponsored lotteries that I have looked at, this form of national gamble flourishes in such countries as Australia, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Greece, Israel, and in many more.  apparently these governments know a good thing (in economic terms) when they see one.  Add to this picture the proliferation of private lotteries of every kind (shipboard pools on the time taken for an Atlantic crossing , “door prizes” given away on admission tickets in American dance halls, raffles in clubs with prizes ranging from seven cards stud ) and it becomes very clear that all the world loves a lottery.  But the one that the world seems to love most of all is that famous and highly international gamble called the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes (more familiarly known as the “Irish Sweep”).

At the same time, from a smaller drum, another nurse draws a slip bearing the name of a horse that will run in the determining race.  The ticket number and the horse’s name are recorded, and the procedure is repeated until the small drum is empty.  Each holder of a drawn ticket gets a prize, but the amount depends on the horse’s final position in the race.

Although the sale of Sweepstakes tickets is legal only in Ireland itself, the sales there amount to no more than about one twenty-fifth of the total.  About two thirds of the tickets are sold in America (where in most of the 50 states, all forms of lottery are illegal); and there is a big demand for tickets all over Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, Australia, and elsewhere.