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The Costa Rica Lottery – Making New Costa Rican Winners Since 1845!

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San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica

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The Costa Rica Lottery

The lottery has been part of the lives of Costa Ricans for a long time. Almost every person dreams about striking it rich by winning the EL Gordo Navideño, the big Christmas lottery. Weekly lotteries are also held that have smaller payouts. People use their lucky numbers, date of birth, symbols and numbers from their dreams amongst others to choose the numbers to play in the Costa Rica Lottery.

History of the Costa Rica Lottery

The Costa Rica Lottery has been around since the 1800s as that’s when the first draw was held. The head of charity, Nazarino Toledo, requested the government to start a lottery for raising funds in order to construct the San Juan Dios Hospital in 1845. Shortly after, a monthly lottery was initiated by the government for raising money. However, it wasn’t until 1885 that the lottery was made official and was conducted on a regular basis.

The Gordo Navideño was held in December of 1960, but the first million colón prize was offered in 1979. The largest prize that was given out was in 1986 and it was 5 million colónes. Today, the Costa Rica lottery offers more colorful lottery tickets and much larger prizes. A considerable portion of the lottery proceeds are still given to charity and the remaining is handed out to the winners.

Costa Rican Currency (colón)

Costa Rican Currency (colón)

Knowing the Costa Rica Lottery

There are six different games that are part of the Costa Rica lottery that you can play almost always. These include Lotería Popular (Los Chances), Nuevos Tiempos, Lotería Nacional, Pitazo, Lotería Instantanea (Raspaditas) and Lotto. Apart from that, there are some extra lotteries that are also played throughout the year and typically coincide with holidays such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Christmas. These Costa Rican lotteries are given their own names such as the Gordo Navideño for Christmas lottery, but they are also referred to as Lotería Nacional or Lotería Popular.

The Social Protection Council (Junta de Protección Social) is responsible for producing, distributing and managing the games involved in the Costa Rica lottery. The money that the JPS collects and is not issued in prizes is kept as profit. They pay it out to the government in the form of taxes and it is also used for making contributions towards retirement homes, hospitals and programs like the fight against AIDS, cancer protection, the Red Cross and the fight against alcoholism. In 2013, the JPS paid $4.4 million to the government in taxes, which is 10 percent of the profit from the Costa Rica Lottery.

Guide for Playing the Costa Rica Lottery

In order to play the Costa Rica lottery, you first need to understand the difference between the traditional lotteries and the games of chance. There are unique rules governing the four games of chance. Raspadita is a scratch-off game and the other three, namely Lotto, Pitazo and Nuevos Tiempos, are electronic games. As far as the lotteries such as the Los Chances, National Lottery and the extras are concerned, they are all played in the same manner, but their prizes and bills vary and they are played on different days.

There are three numbers for every ticket; a three-digit number series, a contest number and a two-digit ticket number. In order to play the Costa Rica lottery, you have to purchase a ticket with the two-digit number you want. You can purchase one ticket up to as many constitute a sheet. The amount of ticket on a sheet depends on the particular lottery you have decided to play. You have to have the whole sheet of tickets, match the ticket number and the series number for winning the biggest prize. As far as the smaller prizes are concerned, instructions to win those are mentioned on the back of the ticket.

Different Games in the Costa Rica Lottery and their Payouts

Let’s take a look at how some of the popular games in the Costa Rica lottery work:

The National Lottery of Costa Rica

La Lotería Nacional, or The National Lottery, originated in 1885 for the purpose of raising funds for a public hospital. It is a traditional game of the Costa Rica Lottery where the tickets are printed in a series from 000 to 009 and the numbers in three issues from 00 to 99. This system creates a lot of winners, but the jackpot can only be won if you have all the tickets in the series as well as the winning ticket number. Typically, fractions of a sheet are sold, as little as one ticket, due to which common prizes are only a percentage of the actual jackpot. There are 10 tickets in a full sheet of the National Lottery. The draws are held every Sunday.

The Popular Lottery

Los Chances, La Lotería Popular or the Popular Lottery bears a lot of resemblance with the National Lottery. It was established in 1940 for raising funds and also to end the illegal lottery, also known as Los Chances. It is played in the same way as the National Lottery, but has smaller jackpots. The draws are held twice a week.

Instant Lottery

La Lotería Instantánea, commonly called Raspadita or the Instant Lottery is a scratch-off game in the Costa Rica Lottery. The prizes are in different amounts and there are different ways to win. If you scratch the ticket and it reveals the same number three times, you win the amount shown. If you collect several tickets and make the word puerta, you win the jackpot of $129 million. If the word ‘raspa’ is revealed, you get to try the Wheel of Fortune and win the amount on which the ball lands.

Lotto

In this electronic lottery game, you have to pick five numbers between 1 and 35 or let a machine pick them. There are four ways you can win this game:

  • If you match all the five numbers draw, you take home the jackpot.
  • If you have four matched numbers, you win $100
  • Three matched numbers gives you $10
  • Two matched numbers enables you to get your value of the ticket

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