March 18, 1997 6:15 PM ET
Red Cross launches an Internet lottery to benefit charities
By Maria Seminerio

  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies today unveiled an online lottery dubbed PLUS Lotto to benefit its various charities.

Anyone with access to the Internet, with the exception of users going online through servers in Switzerland, can enter the lottery on the PLUS Lotto Web site ( or by E-mail at A quarter of the proceeds will fund Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian programs across the globe, federation officials said.

"We have created a form of revenue generation, electronic fundraising, that is a win-win situation for everyone involved," said George Weber, secretary general of the federation, in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

The lottery is administered by the International Lottery in Liechtenstein Foundation, which spearheaded the effort to raise funds for charities through the InterLotto online lottery ( InterLotto went live in August 1995. PLUS Lotto's operations will be monitored by Coopers & Lybrand AG.

Drawings will be held each Friday, starting April 18, with the first jackpot estimated at $1 million. Prizes will be equal to 50 percent of the weekly proceeds, federation officials said.

Participants, who must be over 18, must set up an account with PLUS Lotto using a credit card or bank transfer, which is then credited with any winnings and debited for each donation, or entry, they make, federation officials said. The more people who enter, the larger the prize pool.

After the 25 percent of weekly lottery proceeds donated to the federation and 50 percent given in prizes, 10 percent will go toward promoting PLUS Lotto, 5 percent will be donated to charities in Liechtenstein and 10 percent will go toward PLUS Lotto operating expenses, officials said.

Video clips of the prize drawings will be available on the PLUS Lotto Web site.

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