The largest lottery in Brazil is the Mega Sena lottery, which is run by the Caixa Economica Federal Bank. In fact, all the lotteries in Brazil are run under this bank and have since 1961. The bank has expressed its goal is to help give people their dreams through the lottery, while helping to raise the quality of life throughout Brazil through money donated to the education and development field. With money raised by the Mega Sena, several charities benefit because the Mega Sena lottery passes the money to the Brazilian National Treasury, who then pass that on to charities.
While the bank created the lottery in 1961, the bank itself has been around since 1861 and has the order of promoting a national savings for Brazil to help out the poor population of the country.
The lottery is held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In order to play, players must select six numbers between one and 60. The Mega Sena lottery works differently than other lotteries. There are two cages that numbers are chosen out of. The first cage has numbers between zero and five, while the second cage has numbers between zero and nine in it. The number drawn from the first cage is the first digit of a two digit number while the second number drawn is the second digit. If two zeroes are chosen, then the number is 60.
Overall, there are three prize levels. If you match all six numbers, you win the jackpot. If you match five numbers or four numbers, you win money. By only having three levels of winnings, more money can be distributed to the winners.
Roughly 46 percent of the money raised on the Mega Sena lottery goes to the players as prize money. Of that 46 percent, 35 percent goes to the winning jackpot ticket holder or holders. Another 20 percent goes to those who guess five numbers correctly, while another 20 percent goes to those who guess four numbers correctly. The remaining 25 percent is used for the special draws that are held five times per year.
The highest jackpot that the Mega Sena has ever had was held in 1999, when a winner from Salvador won R$64.9 million. This was the highest by far. The next two highest lottery jackpots for the Mega Sena were in 2007 (R$52.8 million) and 2008 (R$53.1 million).
When someone wins the jackpot, they only have 90 days from the day they win to claim their prizes. Prizes are only paid in lump sums and those who win the lottery can claim their prize at any lottery house in Brazil. For any prize over R$800,000, the winning ticket must be taken to the Caixa Economica Federal Bank.
Any money that is not claimed on jackpots is redistributed to the National Treasury, which are then given to charities around the country.