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Better than the National Lottery
Member Name: campb3ll
Date: 19/02/01, updated on 12/10/01 (53 review reads)
Advantages: Free chance to win a million pounds, Prizes for matching 4 out of 7 number upwards
Disadvantages: Worse odds than being abducted by aliens
Who wants to be a millionaire? No it's not that irritating Chris Tarrant show; instead it's a snazzy e-lottery offering you a daily chance to win £1 million GBP.
Entry is dead easy: just pick 7 numbers, register and click on a banner ad to enter the draw. Returning members can log in and pick any old 7 numbers or select one of their saved "lucky" numbers collections. Your game must be completed by 1730 h to enter the draw that day - otherwise, your game will be entered in the following day's draw. The draw takes place daily, except for weekends and bank holiday when the draw is postponed to the next working day.
Your lucky 7 numbers consist of 6 plain janes* and 1 special Banana number, which holds the key to the million pound jackpot. You must match at least 4 plain janes to win:
4 plain janes = £5 GBP.
5 plain janes = £50 GBP.
6 plain janes = £100,000 GBP.
6 plain janes + 1 Banana number = £1 million GBP.
Since its launch in June 22, 2000, Bananalotto has given away over 360,000 prize cheques. The bulk of these cheques (346,000) were for £0.50 GBP prizes. If you're observant, you'll now be scratching your head and wondering how this could possibly be. Well, back in its heyday, Bananalotto used to run three games per day and dish out 50 pence prizes for matching 3 numbers. Ach, well, fear not for there is a tiny ray of deluded hope ...
Bananalotto has over 570,000 members, of which 45,000 play each day. Over the last 12 month period (that's one year, Jane*), Bananalotto has dished out an average of 1,677 £5 GBP prize cheques. So, 1,677 out of 1,368,750 monthly entries can hope to scope the 5 pound booby prize. Still, I suppose that the odds are no worse than the UK National Lottery and, even if they are, my calculations aren't exactly accurate. To put it another way: I've been playing this lottery on and off for at least a year and have won a couple of 50 pence prize
s. Hmm, actually those are pretty bad odds but at least it's all free.
As an added perk - or disadvantage - if you are a lucky first or second prize winner, you'll be contacted by telephone and "invited" to a "winner's party". In fact, you may even be there in company as the first and second prizes are shared with whoever wins in the same draw. This is very unlikely to happen though; since launching, Bananalotto has only had 3 lucky sods ... I mean, second prize winners. Third and fourth prize winners are only contacted by email but first and second prize winners will be telephoned - if you don't give your contact number in your profile, Bananalotto will use directory enquiries. Failing that, Bananalotto will send a courier - presumably to break the happy news and to frogmarch the lucky winner to their "party".
Ah, now you may be getting concerned about your privacy. Your initial reaction is probably that any e-lottery has no privacy rules and will result in a pile of spam. Yes and no. You must provide your full name, UK address and date of birth. Your phone number is optional - unless you scoop a big prize (see above). You can edit these details at any time. This may result in a maximum of one commercial email per week from Netarget (owners of Bananalotto). Typically commercial emails are very infrequent and are normally only from Bananalotto. If you are at all concerned about any personal data Bananalotto may hold about you, then email email@example.com and include your ID and "Please send me the complete list of information that Bananalotto holds about me" in your message.
Now that the paranoia's out of the way, I'll mention the "recommend a friend" competition. The prizes change every so often at the close of each competition period. What you have to do is send an email to your friends from the Bananalotto site ("No, really it's free, fun and s
afe - you can request details of your held data and you don't get loads of spam!") and if they sign up, you will get one competition entry per friend. Previous prizes have included 2 Piaggio scooters, a hi-fi, a camcorder and a portable DVD player. Enter as many times as you like (providing you can rustle up enough friends' email addresses).
There is also supposed to be a Banana Star game with "luxury millionaire style holidays" to be won. Sadly, I can't seem to find this little game on the site. I suspect it is a mac related problem. (I previously encountered problems trying to edit my profile as Bananalotto were having mac-compatibility difficulties. Fortunately, the nice folks at Banana HQ did the editing for me via email.) Maybe a p.c. surfer can take a look at this for me.
So, go on - what are you waiting for? It's free, it's fast, you've got better odds of being abducted by aliens than you have of scooping a million but ... go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.
(*Finally, no disrespect to Jane Doe - whoever she is.)