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Italian Villager Wins $210 Million Lottery Jackpot

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) - A resident of the castle-topped Tuscan village of Bagnone won more than 147 000 000 euros ($210.6 million) in Europe's biggest lottery jackpot, and seemed intent on trying to stay unknown.

The winner bought the ticket for 2 euros at a bar in the central Italian town of 2,000, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Florence. The lucky inhabitant, who has yet to come forward, can choose to remain anonymous and has 90 days to claim the cash. Local residents popped bottles of sparkling wine at the bar on Aug. 22 to celebrate the fortune of the winner in their midst.  That person may be a 47 year-old local man, the ANSA news agency reported yesterday.

"I hope the winner knows how lucky he is and knows how to handle such an event," said the town's mayor, Gianfranco Lazzeroni, in an interview with SkyTG24 television. "This is an opportunity to raise the visibility of this small corner of Italy."

The draw, broadcast live on RAI state television two days ago, showed the winning numbers to be 10-11-27-45-79-88. It was the first time since Jan. 31 that someone had picked the right combination from the 90 possible numbers in play. The odds of selecting the numbers were 622 million to one, Agence France- Presse reported. The jackpot is tax-free.

Lottery fever has been on the rise in Italy, with more than 400 million euros spent on tickets in July and 300 million euros so far in August, according to Sisal SpA, the lottery company.

A 25-year-old Spanish woman in May appears to hold the previous European record. She won a 126 million euro, tax-free prize in the Euro Millions nine-country lottery.

Spain's Christmas lottery known as El Gordo, or the Fat One, is considered the world's largest draw with a total prize pool of more than $2 billion. In that game there are thousands of winning tickets, leading to smaller individual payouts.

Joy as poor Italian town wins 100 million euro lottery

ROME  (AFP) - Inhabitants of a deprived Sicilian suburb sang and danced through the night outside a cafe where the winning ticket for a 100 million euro (128 million dollars) lottery was bought.

Hundreds of residents in the working-class suburb gathered outside the cafe as the local mayor urged the winner to spread some of the record 100,756,197 euro prize money to the community.