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Hong Kong buzzes over record lottery jackpot

18 may 2011, 18:14
Hopeful crowds descended on betting shops in Hong Kong on Wednesday as the city buzzed over a record HK$100 million ($13 million) lottery jackpot, AFP reports.

The Mark Six jackpot swelled after no-one won the HK$75 million prize on Tuesday, with thousands expected to flock to outlets run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club ahead of the big draw on Friday.

Laundry worker Luk Yuen-wan, 66, told AFP that the size of the prize lured her into spending HK$20 on her first-ever tickets, along with her husband, who was also trying his luck for the first time.

"If I win, I will give the money to my children and donate some to charity," she said after buying her tickets, as others waited in a long queue.

"I hope someone will share the first prize if I win, as the thought of having HK$100 million is just too scary, it's too much. If it is shared by 10 persons then it will be nice."

Mark Six players choose a series of numbers from one to 49 with a single bet costing HK$10.

The largest Mark Six payout to date was nearly HK$71 million in 2003, according to the English-language Standard newspaper.

Casino gambling is outlawed in the former British colony, but punters can bet legally on the Mark Six lottery, football and horse racing through the Jockey Club, which has outlets across the southern Chinese territory.

Although the size of Friday's jackpot is a record by Hong Kong standards, it is dwarfed by lotteries in the United States and Europe.

In the United States in January, two tickets shared the estimated $355 million jackpot in the Mega Millions draw.

Spain's annual Christmas lottery, dubbed "El Gordo" or "The Fat One", has the world's largest total payout, which was worth 2.3 billion euros last year.

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