Gambling fever grips Bulgaria as record jackpot rolls over

More than 1.5 million lottery tickets were played ahead of the November 15 Bulgarian state lottery draw as people queued for a shot at the 8.6 million leva (4.4 million euro) jackpot in the 6 of 49 game.

That was six times the number of tickets played on an average week, the head of the state lottery’s data processing department Maria Yaneva told Bulgarian National Television (BNT) on November 16, and the main reason why the draw was delayed by 45 minutes.

BNT, which hosts the draws, said it was inundated by calls asking for the reason for the delay. Yaneva said that many ticket-selling offices worked beyond their usual closing time, which is 6pm, in order to allow people to submit their tickets.

The tickets then had to be verified manually before the draw could go ahead. The state lottery is working on taking all its operations online, at which point such delays will become obsolete, she said.

Foreigners too joined in – lottery offices in Rousse, on the border with Romania, and Sandanski, on the border with Greece, were among the busiest on the day of the draw, Yaneva said.

The state lottery officially projects the jackpot falling just short of 9.5 million leva for the November 18 draw, but it could end up being even higher if the gambling fever holds and the number of tickets played goes up.

The highest payout in the 6 of 49 game came in February 2011, when the jackpot was seven million leva.

A smaller jackpot of 760 000 leva, in the 6 of 42 game, also rolled over and is forecast to reach 840 000 before the next draw.

The Bulgarian Sports Totalisator was founded in 1957 and is the main sponsor of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee and other sport bodies in the country, which make it the main source of financing for sport in Bulgaria. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Sports Ministry.

It operates a national system for spreading of lottery games (called ‘toto’ in Bulgarian) – the digital games 6/49, 5/35 and 6/42, all with a rising jackpot and twice-a-week draws, on Thursdays and Sundays.

(Bulgarian state lottery ticket office. Photo: Timo Kirkkala/



The Sofia Globe staff

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