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Team GB shines in Rio 2016 Olympics thanks to lottery funding

Mon 22 Aug 2016, By Lisa Bonnet
Team GB shines in Rio 2016 Olympics thanks to lottery funding

Ever spare a thought for what happens to the money you spend on the lottos? In the UK, of the 25% of the money raised from National lottery ticket sales, 20% is allocated to sport. And that may be why Team GB has been so successful at the 2016 Olympic Games currently taking place in Rio. After winning a record-breaking five gold medals in one day, Team GB moved into second place on the medals table, and stayed there.

Every time someone plays the UK National Lottery or the UK EuroMillions, a portion of the money goes to UK Sport, a body that funds elite sport. UK Sport then passes the money on to governing bodies of selected sports where it’s spent on training facilities and trainers. Playing the lottery could be the reason an athlete gets the support they need to take home the gold.

Funding for sports is strictly managed to ensure that only those with the potential to win get the funding they need. If a team doesn’t perform well, their funding gets cut. It seems harsh, but managing the funds generated from people who buy lottery tickets is a serious business. Since John Major’s government launched the UK lottery, Great Britain has continuously achieved better results in subsequent Olympic Games.

But, is it reason behind Team GB’s success really down to the fact that people play the lottery? The USA holds top spot on the medals table, despite the fact that athletes don’t receive any funding from the lottery. You would think that the money generated from those who play US lottery games would go a long way to helping athletes win medals. A US Powerball jackpot such as the record-breaking $1.5 billion won earlier this year must have generated ten times that in ticket sales alone.

But those who play Powerball online can rest assured that their money helps other worthy causes. Education and the environment are two areas that benefit. When it comes to athletes, there are other foundations that rely on donations to help athletes. And it’s not unusual for Olympian and Paralympian athletes to raise their own funds for competing in the games.

It’s not just American citizens who can play the US Powerball or MegaMillions. Thanks to the internet, players from around the world can participate in international lotteries. With the opportunity to win big jackpots, playing the lottery online has become more popular. And it may be the reason why jackpots for lotteries such as the US Powerball and EuroMillions keep getting bigger.

Would more people play the American lottery online if their money was used to help Olympic hopefuls achieve their dreams? Maybe not, as America seems to scoop enough medals with the funding they already have. But competition between the countries is fierce and for the UK, lottery funding appears to have made a difference.

So if you’re a proud Team GB supporter, you needn’t worry that your Powerball online play will help athletes from the USA beat Britain in the pool or on the race track. And if you do buy Powerball lottery tickets online and win the jackpot, you could donate some of your money to a fund that helps athletes.

It’s not unusual for lottery winners to donate their winnings to worthy causes. Look at the biggest EuroMillions winner, Colin Weir. In 2011, Colin and his wife Chris won a £161 million EuroMillions jackpot. Shortly after winning, they used £750 000 to set up the Thistle Weir Youth Academy. Its aim was to provide youngsters from Partick Thistle the support training and guidance necessary to succeed at the national level in football. And this year they donated another £500 000 to this worthy cause.

In the meantime, many Team GB athletes have been singing the praises of the UK lottery. So the next time you watch a British athlete cross the line to take first place, remember that they couldn’t have done it without the lottery!