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Lottery fever erupts across Canada

Oct 26, 2005, 10:54 am

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Canada 6/49

Tonight's record $40 million jackpot (US$34 million) for Canada's national Lotto 6/49 game has people lining up at ticket vendors across the country.

Noemi Nepomuceno, who was out buying tickets in Toronto on Tuesday, says she knows exactly what she'll do with the jackpot.

"Oh boy, I tell you, first to pay off the debts, pay off the mortgage, and then that's it," Nepomuceno said. "Enjoy it, give it to charities, then enjoy my life.

"I've been waiting for a long time."

Elizabeth Wilson won $7.4 million two weeks ago in a Lotto 6/49 draw. She shared her prize with her four children, five brothers, and nine grandchildren. Even so, she says, she has lots of money left.

"I won't have to worry for the rest of my life," she said. "I'll be all set."

The Ontario Lottery Corporation says the chances of winning are one in 14 million.

Ned Ma is trying to improve his odds by using the laws of probability. "I picked the numbers that most probably will come out," he said.

Actually some numbers do come up more than others.

The number 31, for instance has appeared in 13 percent of winning combinations over the last 20 years.

But the odds of winning decrease when more people buy more tickets for the big jackpots.

Still, most say a toonie (a Canadian coin worth $2) is a small price to pay for a chance at the big money.

The biggest winner will be the provincial lottery coffers. Saturday's $30 million jackpot brought in $55 million worth of tickets, but there was no winner.

About 29 percent of the money goes to provincial governments, a further 18 percent is split between operating costs, payments to sellers and the federal government.

Wednesday's draw is expected to bring in even more.

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