Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Turkey's New Year's Eve Lottery

So, Turkey has a national lottery, and the jackpot is especially big on New Year's Eve. This year, it was worth TL 45 million, which is a little more than $25 million. Not bad, eh? But the tickets are seriously expensive -- you can buy a single ticket for TL 40 ($22) and you win the entire jackpot, a half ticket where you share the jackpot with someone else, or a quarter ticket for one-fourth of the money. Each ticket has a number on it, like in the US, and for the half and quarter tickets, there are two and four tickets, respectively, out there in the world with the same number.  

You can buy the tickets at various places, but when we were shopping in Eminonu a couple of weekends ago, Cagatay pointed out Istanbul's most lucky seller -- Nimit Abla. It was fairly early and there weren't a lot of people out and about, but there was a line stretching down the street of people waiting to buy tickets for the New Year's jackpot. I've never seen anything like it. And there were individual ticket sellers standing around (you can see them in the photo above, at the left, in the white caps), but no one was paying any attention to them -- everyone wanted to buy from the little store.

Cagatay said that they've sold a couple of winning tickets in the past, and as a result, people consider Nimit Abla to be a lucky place to buy from -- but of course, that ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, as statistically, they'll sell more winning tickets as more people buy from them. And people were certainly buying from them.

We bought one quarter ticket, but from a lady standing across the street -- she looked like she needed some business. But alas, we didn't win last night...our numbers weren't even close. It was a set of quarter tickets that won, sold in Istanbul, Izmir, Mugla and Malatya, but no word yet on where specifically the Istanbul ticket came from. :)

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