Italy's lotto nears €138m

2009-08-17 16:54

Rome - Italians and foreigners hoped to be the first to win the top prize in Italy's state lottery game since January and take home about €138m in Monday night's drawing.

The odds of picking the winning six-number combination in the SuperEnalotto game are about 1 in 622 million. That's not cooling lotto fever.

A lotto dealer in Modena, northern Italy, said about 2 000 people teamed up to pay nearly €82 500 for six tickets. There were 19 series of numbers on each ticket. If they get lucky, they'll take home about €57 000 each.

130 Germans on Sunday flew on charter planes to Rimini, a resort popular with northern Europeans on the Adriatic Sea, to buy tickets. They had won free plane tickets in a German newspaper contest. Last week, another planeload of hopeful Germans flew from Berlin to Milan in a similar promotion.

Lottery officials described this week's prize as the highest jackpot ever in Europe.

The last time anyone won the top prize in Italy was January 31, when five winners shared a €40m jackpot.

Before the current frenzy to pick the right six numbers, the previous all-time high jackpot in Italy was the €101m won on October 23.