This coming Monday will mark the third anniversary of the BIG lottery, a biweekly event which has become one of the most widespread and successful gambling enterprises in known space, capping off what has been a month of major milestones for the BIG Corporation.
What began 3 years ago as a fledgling entry into the galaxies vast gambling industry, with just 38 participants and a 6.6 million ISK prize pool, today stands as one of the premiere privately run gambling operations in civilised space. "Getting the lottery started as such was not really a problem. It was simply a matter of "doing it", and then praying it would have some interest" said TornSoul, Chief Executive Officer of BIG. In the increasingly cynical and paranoid circles of the pod pilot community, the new lottery met with surpisingly small difficulties in gaining the appropriate licences, and more importantly the trust of its punters. "As BIG has been involved in the corporate world for quite a time [we] already had a reputation of being trustworthy" spoke TornSoul, "at least among those that had any business with dealings with us".
Although now regularly attracting over 230 players and 400 million ISK in prizes for every 2 week round, the special anniversary edition of the lottery being drawn this Monday has moved well beyond the realm of regular. With several days of ticket sales still to go, the number of punters has blown out to over 600, whilst the prize pool, which has been expanded several times, now exceeds 11 billion isk based on current market estimates. TornSoul, on the size and revisions of the prizes "Originally we had planned to just assure there would be at least 3 billion in cash prizes - 3 billion for a 3 year anniversary seemed appropriate. Then, one day before the launch a sponsor out of the blue approached us asking if it would be ok to donate for the anniversary round. Expecting maybe a few hundred million ISK or similar, I was almost in disbelief when told that the enormous gift, from Eve Intergalactic Bank, was valued at around 3.5-4 billion ISK." This donation added not only further cash to the pool, but a number of battleships - including a prized Gallente Navy Issue Megathron. Another donation was made several days after the official round launch "When another donor suddenly knocked on my door telling me that they had a little something they'd like to add as well, I was more than happy to accept". TornSoul: "The BIG Lottery has simply been the foundation on which all the other things we've done have rested - for without the humble start of the BIG Lottery, they would never have happened. Its fun and games and a good time, and some people even end up quite rich in the process as well"
At the beginning of the month, the other major venture by BIG ended its first, and somewhat tumultuous stint in the marketplace. The BIG Merchant Bank of EVE (BMBE) was originally opened to provide a viable small money bank with the stellar spread to fully service the pod pilot community. "This simply hasn't taken off at all, which I'm rather disappointed about after the amount of work that was put into developing an infrastructure and interface for easy traversal of locations and items" Continued TornSoul, "This also almost meant the end of the BMBE as we simply weren't making any profit for the shareholders" However, the first dividend for the shareholders was paid out on schedule, and at the same time a second IPO was announced by BIG. "The one suggestion, which I originally had shied away from due to the extra amount of admin it would entail, and additional risk, was the use of t2 BPO's as security. We now regularly have people interested in rather large loans, which is quite opposite of what I had originally intended." Whilst the change in focus appears to have saved the BMBE, and appeased the investors with good dividends, TornSoul was quick to admit that "the 2nd BMBE IPO isn't faring as well as i had hoped. At this stage we could not handle another massive loan here and now. I'd much rather be able to help 'fledging' startups... or similar, but the market just isn't there right now." Despite this, the future for the BMBE seems to be interesting, if not completely stable, with TornSoul adding "It's going to be very interesting to see what kinda balance we can achieve." And as for the BIG Lottery? "It will go on for as long as anyone cares to play it"