Europe's biggest jackpot finds a winner

24th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

After weeks of mid-summer lotto madness in Italy, the winning ticket was sold in a bar in the village of Bagnone, in the central region of Tuscany.

Rome -- Residents of a village in central Italy were celebrating Saturday after a ticket sold there produced the richest jackpot in European lottery history -- nearly 148 million euros.

After weeks of mid-summer lotto madness in Italy, the winning ticket was sold in a bar in the village of Bagnone, in the central region of Tuscany.

The identity of the winner -- who is now 147,807,299.08 euros (about 212 million dollars) richer, according to the Agicos agency -- was being kept secret.

But Italian television pictures showed emotions running high in the picturesque village of only 2,000 inhabitants.

"We were watching the football match where Milan was playing when someone came in saying that we had won the SuperEnalotto," the bar's manager, Annamaria Ciampini, told the ANSA news agency.

"We immediately changed the channel and we started to hear the name of the village. What more can I say? I didn't win and I don't know who did," she added.

Outside the bar in the centre of the village, some locals were popping the corks on bottles of sparkling wine. Others however, complained about the noise and called for the television to be switched back to the football.

Villager Giuliano Di Bernardo, interviewed by ANSA, said he had seen the winner, a 47-year-old local man, buy the winning ticket.

The last time the thrice-weekly SuperEnalotto paid out was on January 31, meaning the jackpot kept rolling over to the point where it became the world's second-largest after MegaMillions in the United States in March 2007.

The winning six-number combination was 2, 16, 38, 67, 70 and 84, the national lottery agency said, and the chances of getting all those digits right were only one in 622 million.

Italians turned out in droves to buy the one-euro tickets, joined by over-the-border players from France and Germany.

One lottery agency, Agipronews, reckons that the Italian government made 980 million euros in nearly seven months thanks to the game -- no mean sum in a time of recession.

The next draw is on Tuesday, when the jackpot will be slightly less than 36 million euros.

The world record MegaMillions payout was the equivalent of 157.7 million euros, according to Agicos, another Italian gaming service.

AFP/Expatica

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