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Swiss take a gamble on Europe

Philippe Maillard of Loterie Romande is also looking for a winner swissinfo.ch

Swiss gamblers will join counterparts from eight other European countries next week to play “EuroMillions”, one of the world’s biggest lotteries.

This content was published on September 30, 2004 - 15:39

Switzerland is among six new countries entering the lottery, which was launched in February and has a weekly jackpot of at least €8 million (SFr12 million).

Loterie Romande and Swisslos, the two organisations coordinating the game in Switzerland, decided to jump into bed with EuroMillions in order to maintain market share.

Thanks to the internet, more and more Swiss have been having a flutter abroad.

“Our national lottery has been facing fierce competition from EuroMillions since it was launched,” said Philippe Maillard, head of Loterie Romande. “We chose to react by signing with this lottery’s organisers.”

The Swiss spent more than SFr2 billion ($1.6 billion) on home-based lotteries last year, with more than a quarter of the total gambled on the twice-weekly Swiss Lotto game.

Pooled jackpot

The organisers of EuroMillions guarantee a one-in-24 chance of a win, and say players have a one-in-76 million chance of walking away with the jackpot.

The first nine-country draw will take place in Paris on October 8, with newcomers Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal joining the British, the Spanish and the French.

With the new member countries, it will become the world’s biggest lottery with a total population of 200 million.

To hit the jackpot, punters have to select seven lucky numbers – and hope they come up trumps.

If no one wins, the jackpot rolls over to the following week. The biggest win to date has been SFr50 million.

There are no restrictions on where a person can buy a ticket, but winnings can only be collected in the country of sale.

Tickets, which cost SFr3.20 each, go on sale in Switzerland from this weekend.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

With nine nations taking part, EuroMillions is now the world's biggest lottery in terms of population.
The Swiss spent SFr2.29 billion on lotteries in 2003.
The Swiss will take part in the EuroMillions draw for the first time on October 8.
The biggest jackpot paid out since the launch of EuroMillions in February was €33 million.
The chance of winning the jackpot is one in 76 million.

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