3 in Europe get lottery lucky

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By AMIT ROY in London
  • Published 4.02.06

London, Feb. 4: Three people in Europe ? two in France and one in Portugal ? are today wondering what to do with their lottery winnings of ?42 million each.

Last night’s EuroMillions lottery jackpot, which stood at a record ?126 million, will be shared by the three.

In order to win, they picked the right combination of five numbers from 1 to 50 from one box, and two “lucky star” numbers from 1 to 9 from a second box.

The jackpot stood at the record high after “rolling over” 11 times since the lottery was last won on November 11 ? something that is a statistical possibility once in every 25 years.

The lottery operators made much more money than they handed out by generating a betting frenzy across Europe as the deadline of 7.30 pm GMT yesterday approached.

Sales were up 1200 per cent on normal levels. At one point, three millions tickets an hour were being sold across Europe.

A spokesman for Camelot, which operates the EuroMillions lottery in the UK, gushed: “It’s been really exciting for UK players and players all over Europe. In this series EuroMillions has raised ?50 million for good causes in the UK ? even though a UK player wasn’t lucky enough to win.” The winning numbers last night were: 09, 21, 30, 39 and 50 and Lucky Stars 01 and 03.

Actually, punters in the UK didn’t do that badly. People who got some of the numbers right but not all received varying amounts of cash, depending on how close they got to the winning combination. In all, 1.4 million people shared ?15.6 million, ranging from handouts of ?179,829 to ?7.10. However, it is more than likely that in order to “win” ?7.10, a person may have invested ?20 in buying tickets.

Camelot said 46 ticket-holders across all countries had matched the five main numbers and one Lucky Star number, with each winner scooping ?179,829.

A further 67 ticket-holders, again across all countries, matched the five main numbers, but neither of the Lucky Star numbers, to win ?35,037.

Finally, 747,671 in the UK each won ?7.10 after matching two main numbers and one of the Lucky Star digits.

One newspaper tried to assist its readers by getting a panel of “experts” to predict the numbers. One expert, Cassandra Eason, known as “White Witch”, who didn’t do very well, had suggested 49 because “it’s a multiple of seven, and seven is a very important number. There are seven planets, seven days of the week and seven energy centres in the body, and when you multiply it by itself, you compound its power.”

Another who flunked was holistic numerologist David Green who had recommended 7. “It’s my personal life path number, based on my birthday, minus the date of the lottery, three. The difference in energies between the two numbers should make it extra lucky.”

Ki Feng Shui practitioner Jon Sandifer saw 8 coming up. “The number eight is hot in terms of Feng Shui at the moment. In the Chinese system time moves in cycles of twenty years, and until 2024 the number eight is considered very lucky.”

The number 8 was conspicuous by its absence last night.

It’s a pity no Indian came up with the formulation: “The numbers 9, 21, 30, 39 and 50 and Lucky Stars 1 and 3 will be runs scored by the top seven Indian batsmen in any match against Pakistan. Think of some low numbers, divide by two and round up to the nearest whole number.”

Under the headline, “Lottery lunacy”, the Financial Times commented today: “One of life’s oddities is that people who normally sneer at the absurdity of playing the

lottery lose all reason if the jackpot is rolled over enough times. They were doing it across nine European countries yesterday, frantically buying tickets for the

EuroMillions draw as if the Pound125million pot justified betting against odds of 76 million to one in a way that a mere Pound1million did not.”

It conceded: “Yet perhaps there is a kind of logic to the mania. A million pounds is indeed a lot of money but, to a reasonably well-off family in western Europe, it

would not leave much change after repaying the mortgage, buying a private education for the children, setting aside enough for a decent pension and taking care of

relatives and friends.”

It concluded: “But Pound125 million? We realise this is pocket change to the likes of Bill Gates but for the rest of us poor schlubs it would be life-transforming. We

could give up work and set up a foundation to combat world hunger, become benefactors of the arts, save the Pacific north-west tree octopus and, finally, put in that

shrubbery we have been talking about for the past five years. Or, more typically, we could follow the example of footballer George Best, who famously said of his

lost fortune, ‘I spent a lot of the money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.’ ”