Italy gets lotto fever for EUR 138 million jackpot

18th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The prize money rose around EUR 2 million after Monday’s draw failed to produce a winner yet again in the SuperEnalotto draw.

Rome – Italy's record European lottery jackpot soared to at least EUR 138 million on Monday as lotto fever swept the country, news agencies reported.

The prize money rose around EUR 2 million after the draw late on Monday failed to produce a winner yet again in the SuperEnalotto draw, news agency ANSA reported.

The jackpot for the next draw on Tuesday has now edged up to at least EUR 138 million (USD 194 million), specialist games news agency Agicos said.

The record prize had sparked a frenzied rush of Italians and tourists to buy tickets, with the thrice-weekly draws failing to find a winner since January.

"Everyone is asking me if they can play. There are even a fair few foreign tourists, mainly Germans," said Alberto, who runs a newspaper kiosk near Milan's train station.

The chances of correctly guessing the right six numbers, from one to 90, are around 622 million to one, but that has not stopped millions of players from trying their luck, including many from France and Germany.

Mass-market German daily Bild had offered readers a free return flight to Rimini to buy tickets, while French people crossed the border to line up at Lotto sellers in the Italian Riviera town of Ventimiglia.

The owner of the Bar della Stazione in Milan said his was the only Lotto outlet to remain open in the area during the peak holiday period.

"Today, it's really too much. We've never seen this in the middle of August."

"I encourage the customers to have a pop. I'm behind them all the way. If one of them wins, I pocket EUR four or five million, which is roughly the three percent the seller gets in case the lottery's won. With that, I can pack it all in and fly off to the Bahamas!"

Stefano, a waiter in the Castellino bar in central Rome said business was brisk at the Lotto counter. "We have people who never play regularly and tourists who've just bought a ticket, but it's mostly locals we have coming in today."

He said regular players were putting "at least double" the amount of money they would normally wager on tickets for Monday's draw, which was broadcast live on television.

In the Sicilian resort town of Taormina, 2,000 people joined forces to put up eur 80,000 in a bid for the jackpot. Taormina is near Catania, where last year one player won the previous record jackpot, of EUR 100 million.

AFP / Expatica

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