OpenFortress lottery for buying mutual gifts

This lottery sends everyone in a group a ticket with a name on it which is not his own. This is useful for festivities where people buy each other a gift.

On December 5th, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of Sinterklaas. During this festivity, children receive gifts from the holy man himself, but grown-ups usually buy each other presents. This means that groups of grown-ups have to come together and perform a small lottery, which sometimes takes long because it is restarted everytime someone pulls his own ticket.

This problem can be avoided by an outsider who is not involved in the festivity itself, but who can keep a secret. Since OpenFortress is a third party, it is used to take on precisely this role, so why not celebrate along with the Internet and provide a lottery tool?

The tool can be used for many other purposes as well, and you are free to do so as long as the intention is not to send SPAM. OpenFortress send emails to all participants in the lottery, and will forget about the lottery outcome as soon as the emails have been sent.

Select the email message text. You can have us sent a Dutch or English email; for the Dutch flavour, you can also select a seasonal Sinterklaas variation.

Enter group members. Enter your group's members; email addresses go left, one per line and corresponding names go to the right. Mention yourself as the first person and enter no more than 25 members.

Describe the lottery. Give a short description of the lottery.

Check before continuing. Make sure all is okay, and click only once below. Emails will immediately be sent to your group's members. If anything goes wrong, the drawing cannot be reconstructed.


OpenFortress is not interested in your email address or names, and will not use them internally, or pass them on to others, with the exception of abuse. Requesting a few lotteries every now and then is certainly not abuse, as long as the recipients do not mind receiving email from you.

The first email/name on the list is used as a reply address to all recipients. The names of all recipients are listed in every email.

How does this work?

Because OpenFortress has no interest in the outcome of this drawing, the lottery tickets can freely be looked into, to avoid that anyone receives his/her own name to buy a present for. This is the typical application of a so-called third party: an outside party which is not involved in the affairs being done. OpenFortress makes products like these, and this Sinterklaas lottery is just a nice demo.

When you pull lottery tickets from a hat, you get a random ticket, but it might be your own. This is a digital form of such a hat, but with a twitch. When a person pulls out a ticket, the hat will not contain the ticket of that person. This guarantees that no person will receive its own ticket. And yes, we did the random-number math; that's a common point of attention to OpenFortress.

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