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Gambling in Mexico: Loteria


Lotería is a gambling game played in Mexico. The cards are used for this game. The cards have pictures instead of having balls with printed numbers. Every player gets a tabla which represents one board with pictures on a grid made up of four columns. The pictures on each tabla have been chosen in random order. Players can get the tabla of their choice. Each tabla should have a unique group of pictures on it. Loterías starts with one caller who gets a card from one deck in random order and tells it to the crowd. Each picture has a different name.

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The pictures are fifty four in total. The caller can announce the picture by its natural name or through a song, rhyme and riddle. Callers for Loteria can show their creative side. Players should watch out for a match of an image on their card and put a mark on it using chips or markers. Most Mexicans use beans and corks from drinks. The winner is the first person to get four matches in the order announced at the beginning of the game. The pattern or order may be vertical, diagonal, square, horizontal. The player should shout in Spanish words Loteria! , which when translated in English directly means lottery. Other winners shout Buena!,which means good. The game has become a tradition in Mexico.

It involved their passionate nature for arts. It also become apart of the Mexican culture. Loteria originated in a place in Italy during the fifteenth century. This game was made to raise funds to be given to poor people. The game then traveled to other lands including France where a king even made it a state game at one point. In Mexico the first Loteria game was brought during the Spanish colonization in the eighteenth century. At the start loteria was only a past time for many rich families then after many years it became a national tradition. Loterias where first held along with a fair. Today it has become a tool used for teaching.

It is also became an inspiration for many local artists like painters. The most popular manufacturer of the card, Pasatiempos Gallo can be found in America. It started producing the cards since the late eighteenth century. The cards became icnonic figured in Mexico since it represents a long tradition. Today the antique cards have great value when auctioned in countries outside Mexico.

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