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Lottery Fever Hits South Korea

7 February 2003

SOUTH KOREA – As reported by the BBC: "South Korea has been swept up by lottery fever, with record numbers buying tickets for this week's draw, where the jackpot is expected to reach $60m.

"Long queues of customers have been gathering at banks to buy a ticket before Saturday night's televised draw, which is the largest in the country's history.

"…In a bank branch in downtown Seoul there is a queue of about 50 people.

"…Choi Byung-gi, deputy general manager at a branch of Kookmin Bank, said: `In my branch, one day, 2,000 people gathering to buy lottery tickets. It is crazy! The money is very big, like the jackpot in Las Vegas. They dream of the jackpot in the lottery.'

"…Some protesters - many of them elderly - said the government should not be encouraging gambling and its negative social effects.

"…Many South Koreans still regard gambling as a social evil.

"But that has not deterred growing numbers from taking a chance - and dreaming of hitting the jackpot."

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