Australia Vaccination Lottery Site Crashes as 350,000 Sign Up in First 24 Hours

  • The MDV competition offers a total of AU$4.1m (US$2.9m) in prizes for vaccinated Australians
  • The website crashed hours after the launch as more than 350,000 signed up on the first day
  • Competition co-founder Craig Winkler hopes it will help Australia reach an 80% vaccination rate
  • US states such as Nevada, Ohio, and Kentucky have also used vaccination lottery incentives
Australian flag with COVID-19 vaccine
A new vaccination lottery in Australia is offering inoculated residents the chance to win as much as AU$1m (US$730,000), and high traffic numbers caused its website to crash just hours after launch. [Image:]

Australians try their luck

While other areas of the world have seen some recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia continues to struggle with rising case numbers. In an effort to fight the virus, the nation’s government has now launched a lottery offering vaccinated Australians the chance to win big.

the chance to win as much as AU$1m (US$730,000)

The Million Dollar Vax (MDV) competition is open to Australians who get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine by mid-December. Participants have the chance to win as much as AU$1m (US$730,000) in the main draw, but they can also bag one of 3,100 AU$1,000 (US$726) gift cards each day in October.

With AU$4.1m (US$2.9m) up for grabs altogether, the lottery has understandably attracted a lot of attention since its launch. The MDV website suffered an outage on Sunday after more than 350,000 Australians signed up on the competition’s first day. The site still remained unavailable on Monday evening local time.

Aiming to return to normality

In total, around 56% of Australians have received their vaccinations, but the people behind MDV hope the competition will help this number to rise. Craig Winkler, co-founder of the lottery, said: “The promotion simply seeks to reward people who decide to be vaccinated now rather than waiting, so that we can reduce the community impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As for the website’s technical problems, Winkler has insisted that site technicians have now fixed all glitches. Despite these issues, he described the sign-up rate as “fantastic” so far.

World Health Organization data reveals the extent of Australia’s continued struggle with the coronavirus crisis. Last Friday, Australia saw 2,850 new cases of the virus with a seven-day average of 1,849. The nation has registered around 105,123 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Around 79% of Australians have received their first dose of the vaccination. Any other residents hoping to enter the Million Dollar Vax competition must get their initial inoculation by 31 October. Winkler said that reaching a vaccination rate higher than 80% will allow communities and businesses in Australia to return to normality.

Other vaccination lotteries

Various states across the US have also utilized vaccination lotteries to help in the fight against COVID-19. In Nevada, home of global gambling hub Las Vegas, Governor Steve Sisolak kicked off the state’s public lottery in July. It offered vaccinated adults the chance to win thousands in cash prizes each week through August 29.

The governor took to Twitter on July 9 to reveal the first winner of $250,000:

Kentucky and Ohio have also launched their own vaccination lotteries. In May, the Kentucky Lottery partnered with Kroger and Walmart for a promotion offering vaccinated residents the chance to win $225,000. Meanwhile, Ohio officials offered as much as $1m in their own competition, but the lottery failed to have much impact as vaccination rates remained low.

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