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Joker jackpot draws the crowds.

Byline: Sebastian Heller

WITH THE Joker jackpot at e1/412million and the Lotto jackpot at e1/44 million, Cypriots are going all-out to try and win the New Year's Eve bonanza.

"There's been a big increase in the number of people playing for the e1/412 million," said Michalis, who runs an OPAP shop in downtown Nicosia.

"We are working constantly," he added, as more customers passed their tabulated number cards to him to have them scanned and turned into tickets for Friday's draw.

The big jackpot is on the Joker,

"I play Joker two times a week," said Andreas, a pensioner in his mid-seventies. "Every week I spend e1/413.50 on tickets". Asked what he thought his chances were of winning the e1/412 million jackpot he was philosophical replying: "We can hope that we shall, of course".

Katerina, a housewife in her mid-forties, plays "frequently" and has so far won a few small amounts on occasion, such as e1/450. On the e1/412million jackpot she commented "If God sends it to us, we won't say no".

Not everyone plays because they hope to win something, however. For some people it is simply a social activity. "Like gambling, which it is not," said Sotiris, somewhat wryly, who was also playing 'because a few of his friends came down and he tagged along with them'. "I don't believe in games of chance," he said and on being wished good luck regardless replied "Luck doesn't make any difference".

Mustafa, who was in the shop filling out his form, put most people's expectations and motivations into words when he said: "Everybody has a chance of winning," adding that, although he's never won anything yet, he plays 5-6 times a week.

"This is not the first time there has been a jackpot [on the Joker] as large as this," said Michalis the shop owner, "There was a jackpot in the region of 12 million Cyprus pounds also".

OPAP, a company based in Greece who operates Joker in Cyprus also, confirmed that jackpots "in the region of e1/412 million" were typical for the Christmas and New Year period. A spokesperson for OPAP, said that last year there were four winners of the e1/412 million jackpot, two of whom were Cypriot and two Greek

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Dec 30, 2009
Words:395
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