Tickets being bought as lotto jackpot climbs to 140 million euros

1. Close-up of lottery sign reading: “Jackpot -139,900,000 (m) million Euros” 2. Exterior of entrance to state lottery office 3. People queuing to play lottery inside the state lottery office 4. Television screen inside the state lottery office reading (Italian): “Still nine hours 21 minutes and 16 seconds left to become a millionaire” 5. Woman choosing her numbers 6. Close-up of hands filing in lottery form 7. SOUNDBITE (Italian) Antonio, (no last name given) Vox pop: “I would invest the jackpot money as I like, so I can live a grand life.” 8. People choosing lottery numbers 9. SOUNDBITE (Italian) Cristina, (no last name given) Vox pop: “I would do a lot of charity because there is a lot of people who need it.” 10. Close-up of hands buying ticket 11. People queuing for tickets 12. Lottery tickets in case on wall 13. Close-up of printed ticket being handed over 14. Wide of lottery office 15. Close-up of lottery sign 16. Wide of Trevi Fountain STORYLINE Millions (m) of Italians and foreigners failed once again to guess the winning numbers in Italy’s state lottery, and the record jackpot climbed to 139.9 (m) million euros (197 million US dollars) after Monday’s draw. No one has won the top prize since January and the odds of picking the lucky six-number combination in the SuperEnalotto game are about 1 in 622 (m) million. Lottery officials described this week’s prize as the highest jackpot ever in Europe. With 136 (m) million euros (194 million US dollars) up for grabs ahead of Monday’s draw, Italians lined up at lottery stands joined by visitors from across Europe who crossed the border to try their luck. A lotto dealer in Modena, northern Italy, said about 2,000 people teamed up to pay 81-thousand euros (114-thousand US dollars) for six tickets. There were 19 series of numbers on each ticket. Had they have been lucky, they would have taken home 56-thousand euros (79-thousand US dollars) each. On Sunday, 130 Germans 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. The last time anyone won the top prize in Italy was January 31, when five winners shared a 39.7 (m) million Euro jackpot. Before the current frenzy, the previous all-time high jackpot in Italy was the 100.7 (m) million Euro (141.71 million US dollars) won on October 23. Since the start of the year, players have spent more than 2.04 (b) billion Euro (2.87 billion US dollars) in hopes of snaring the SuperEnalotto jackpot. Throughout the jackpot drought, there has been one consistent winner: the Italian state. Half of all the money played goes into the state’s coffers, a winning formula in these budget-tight times. You can license this story through AP Archive: Find out more about AP Archive:

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