Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first Tattslotto draw.

The numbers game had been a hit in Europe and on Thursday, 22 June 1972, it made its debut in Australia.

The first Tattslotto draw, with a total prize pool of $168,450, was broadcast on HSV7 Melbourne, hosted by David Johnston and Lucy Kiraly (pictured). But rival channel GTV9 was not about to let Seven’s new game steal their viewers. Newspaper advertisements for Nine’s movie presentation of The Music Man advised viewers that they needn’t turn the dial to see the winning numbers — “each winning number will be flashed on the screen only moments after it has been officially announced”. Both of Seven’s commercial rivals would continue to broadcast the winning numbers on-screen after the draw for decades to come.

The lottery’s first winning numbers were 37, 39, 1, 14, 18, 31 and supplementary 30.  Anyone who had successfully picked the six main numbers were eligible for the first division prize of $50,535.27 — almost enough to buy a Toorak home (a house had sold that week for $62,000).

From March 1973 the weekly draw shifted to Saturday nights, incorporated into variety show Penthouse Club.  The show came to an end in 1979 but the weekly Tattslotto draw was to continue to be a fixture of HSV7’s Saturday night.

From 1981 the Tattslotto draw was syndicated to other Australian states as part of the Australian Lotto Bloc and is branded as Gold Lotto in Queensland, X Lotto in South Australia and Lotto in New South Wales.

Although lottery draws are not given the airtime that they used to, the games are still played by millions of Australians each week — with lottery games of some sort drawn almost every night of the week, including Tattslotto, Super 66, Powerball, Super 7’s Oz Lotto and Monday and Wednesday Lotto.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Tattslotto will be offering $30 million first division for Draw 3229 on Saturday, 30 June.

Source: The Age, 23 June 1972.  TV News, 17 June 1972.

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