3rd of June 2011 Author: Ava Jackuard
Main prize is now Euro 146 900 000!
Italy's SuperEnalotto rolled over Thursday for the 86th time since January, boosting the main prize in the next draw on Saturday to a European record-busting Euro 146 900 000, and heightening the ticket buying frenzy that has gripped Italy and much of Europe over the past few weeks.
Adding to the appeal of the massive main prize is the fact that tickets can be bought online from anywhere, and the prize is tax-free in Italy.
Already a European record, the lotto bonanza has a way to go to beat US records, where in 2007 Megamillions achieved a payout of $390 million, netting the winner $223 million after taxes. The current Powerball main prize, just won in South Carolina, is $259.9 million.
The odds against winning, at 1:622,614,630, are formidable, but that has not deterred millions of instant fortune hunters, driving the prize value ever higher with each rollover. The number of tickets sold for the three-times-a-week drawings has nearly tripled compared to pre-record jackpot levels, totaling about 275 million a week.
Michael Staskin, spokesman for Sisal SpA, the company that operates SuperEnalotto, told the Global Post that the surge in interest is coming from new players no doubt mesmerized by the size of the jackpot, especially given the uncertain economic situation in the world. Staskin said that the amount spent by the average player has remained consistent at about Euro 2.70, but that the numbers of players have increased dramatically.
'We're seeing a lot of people who have never played a lottery game before decide to play SuperEnalotto in recent weeks,' he said. 'It's become a phenomenon.'
The game is easy enough. Players pay 1 euro ($1.42) for a slip that allows them to pick two sets of six numbers between 1 and 90. If either set is an exact match, the lucky player is set for life. The fact that nobody has won since January helps illustrate just how long the odds are.
The next drawing is on Saturday.
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