Although most lotteries are set up to make a profit and provide cash or merchandise benefits to the players, there are some other lotteries that are a bit more unusual in the prizes that they offer.
These lotteries can be quite quirky, but in most cases do serve a good cause in the end.
One of the more public-service-oriented lotteries takes place in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. Here, they have a speed camera lottery. Not only do the cameras take pictures of the license plates of those driving over the speed limit, they also take pictures of the license plates of those who are driving within the limits.
Drivers who are pictured obeying the speed limit have their license plates entered into a lottery for the chance to win a portion of the money amassed by speeding fines. So, those who get caught speeding actually provide the prizes for the lottery.
This is an interesting lottery with multiple benefits, rewarding safe driving while reducing unsafe driving. Unfortunately, as the lottery is still up and running, it means there are still people who voluntarily contribute to the prize fund.
China has a unique lottery to help reduce the prevalence of tax evasion by businesses.
Consumers can ask for a receipt that contains a scratch-off lottery portion in which they can win cash prizes. By obtaining a receipt, the consumer not only gets a free lottery ticket, but the retailer has the purchase recorded and therefore cannot decide to accidentally forget to report the transaction to avoid having to pay the tax.
Interestingly enough, this lottery program has been successful in reducing the overall under-reporting of retailer income.
In India, a country of 1.342 billion people in 2017, a lottery was created to help promote lower birth rates. Cheerfully known as a Sterilization Lottery, people who volunteer to be sterilized are given a payment of 600 rupees and have their name put into a lottery where they can win cars, food processors, televisions, motorcycles and other prizes.
Results are not known yet if this lottery has proved effective, but reports indicate it is a very popular one nonetheless.
Of course, a more familiar odd type of lottery is the Green Card Lottery that takes place in the United States. This lottery allows people from other countries to enter into a contest and hopefully become one of those who get randomly chosen for the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status.
Since there are only 55,000 green cards available per year this way, the lottery is quite competitive and, with the number of people who apply, the odds are long. However, each winner can apply for residency for themselves, their spouse, and all unmarried children under 21 years old.
For those wanting a better or different life for themselves and their families, winning this lottery is the equivalent of winning the top prize in the Powerball. Many Canadians enter into this lottery for the sole reason of getting a well-paid job over the border.
As we see, lotteries are not always the run-of-the-mill cash lotteries we're all used to. There are some lotteries that are more unusual - but just as popular. It all depends on the prize. The more desirable the prize that is offered, the more popular the lottery is.
Generally speaking, cash is king, but sometimes other prizes are more coveted, depending on the core reason behind the lottery and its audience.