All a flutter over HK$100,000,000

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2011, 12:00am


Mark Six fever is sweeping the city with a record jackpot - expected to exceed HK$100 million - up for grabs in tomorrow night's draw.

It is the longest that the Hong Kong Jockey Club lottery has gone without a winner in more than 30 years - the culmination of eight draws in which no ticket has claimed the first prize. The only time it has happened before was in 1977, when the prize money was considerably less.

With HK$85.6 million being accumulated since the first prize was last won in April, a record jackpot is assured as more individuals and syndicates chase the big money - there were queues throughout the day at Jockey Club outlets yesterday.

For the record, the 'luckiest' Jockey Club outlet is in Stanley Street, Central - 36 winning tickets have been bought there since 1994, more than at any other branch. But the 'hottest' branch at the moment is in Maritime Square, Tsing Yi, where three first-prize tickets have been bought this season, since July.

First timers and seasoned Mark Six veterans queued up for tickets at a Causeway Bay branch yesterday. Among them was retiree John Wan who said he had been buying tickets for decades, especially when there was a jackpot of more than HK$40 million on offer. He bought a ticket for Tuesday's jackpot of HK$75 million and was back for another bite, although he said he had never won more than HK$20.

So, what would he do if he hit it big this time? 'I suppose I'll take an overseas tour or something. But that's only a dream. You never plan for a dream, right?' he said.

Shop worker Venus Tsang, was there after hearing about the record jackpot from her friends. 'This is the first time I've ever bought a ticket. It's so much money.'

Sociology professor Nicole Cheung Wai-ting of Chinese University, said the Mark Six remained the most popular form of gambling for Hong Kong adults, despite the one in 14 million odds of winning. People see it as the easiest way to get rich, she said, adding: 'In Chinese culture, the lottery is related to your luck.'