Southern Rhodesia State Lotteries

Southern Rhodesia State Lotteries

The idea of a State Lottery first came up in 1929 when railwaymen, represented by MP Jackie Keller, were particularly hard hit by the depression. In an attempt to raise funds for the most needy cases, he ran the ‘Unity Stakes’. This unofficial lottery was a success, benefiting many charities and individuals at a time when there was very little public money for relief work. However, the venture was considered illegal and Keller was taken to court and fined $100. Keller took the matter to Parliament, determined that the lottery should be put on an official, state basis.

On 3 March 1934, a referendum was held to create a State Lottery. The outcome resulted in a vote of 16,946 in favour for and 3,604 against. On 11 May 1935, the State Lotteries Act was passed making sweepstakes legal under Government control in Southern Rhodesia. The official wheels of fortune had their first spin on 20 December 1935
The office came under the control of the Ministry of Finance and Commerce.

Lottery Tickets



  • Geoff Brakspear