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Scotland (Sept 01) – Do not worry if you have not heard of the town of Melito, it is a small town near Napoli, Italy. You will hear all about it if their plan to boost revenue succeeds. Government officials have decided to start spending part of the budget on weekly lottery draws, claiming that doing so is no more of a gamble than playing the stock market.
If Melito hits the jackpot, they expect to transform their town into the Monte Carlo of Italy. Melito has a population of 35,000 and they expect to start placing their bets this week as the jackpot reaches 125 million Euros, or just over $160 million. The plan is to spend just 15 Euros a week (800 a year), allowing them to put the rest into less crazy ideas, hopefully.
A Professor of Mathematics at Rome University, Gennaro Olivieri, has given the town a 1 in 622 million chance of scooping the jackpot. Which are terrible odds no matter what your plans, “It would be easier… to guess a strangers phone number.”
The move comes in the wake of spending cuts by Sylvio Berlusconi, Italian PM, who has reduced regional spending by 25 million Euros aimed at lowering the budget deficit.
One of the reasons that the people of Melito feel confident trusting their Mayor with investing in a lottery is a manual called ‘La Smorfia”, “the wince” to you and me. It is a centuries old manual, and has made the picking of numbers more ritualistic, it turns dreams into numbers, essentially. The tradition of using the Smorfia method is so well known in Italy that there is even a website here.
If you do not read Italian, you have even less chance of translating elements of your dreams into Lottery numbers, no luck. I am going to play the lottery like this from now on. Although to assume picking numbers is based on, anything other than blind luck is stupid. You would be as well playing the numbers in running order, 1 2 3 4 5 6 is still to come out, so that automatically gives you better odds, surely. Math was never my strong point.
Italiano Nunzi is not just an amazingly named pensioner, he also dreamt he won the lottery, and hopes that this will provide the luck his town needs to somehow pull off this most ridiculous, yet completely sane plan to make money. Maybe David Cameron should take note, all his ideas are terrible, and this one has a chance at least.