21 Ottobre 2008

Bid to end Italy’s lotto fever

Rome Italy’s main consumer rights organisation has launched a legal battle to have the prize money in the country’s national lottery seized. The lottery has not been won in months and now stands at more than 95m euro ($125m, 74m). The group, Codacons, says the jackpot is creating a dangerous gambling fever in the country. With no winner since April, Italy’s SuperEnalotto has rolled over to create the massive jackpot. For each draw, held three times a week, Italians and foreigners have rushed to buy tickets. More than 100m were purchased last weekend alone. Now Codacons, the Italian consumer right’s group, has filed a lawsuit demanding that the money should be seized because, it says, it is too high. The organisation says the record jackpot has created a very dangerous betting fever with many recorded cases of people spending their life savings. The odds on winning what is believed to be a world-record lottery jackpot have been calculated at 600m to one. Seizing the money and splitting it among other lottery-style games would, says Codacons, protect the collective interest. The Rome prosecutors office has not yet set a date for a hearing on the lawsuit. The Italian government earns an estimated $1bn annually from lottery proceeds.

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