Feature: Lottery buyers flock to small kiosk in Istanbul as years-old tradition

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-21 17:38:39|Editor: pengying
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ISTANBUL, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- For those in Turkey who wish to make a small fortune to greet the New Year, buying lottery tickets from a well-known kiosk at Eminonu Square in central Istanbul is a good bet.

The reason is simple: the booth has sold more tickets which rake in good money for its owners than others in the history of the Turkish national lottery.

So many braved a wet and cold Wednesday afternoon, queuing up in front of the kiosk to try their luck, a regular spectacle during this season of the year.

It took about three hours to have one's turn, but Aytac Turan did not care, waiting in line patiently under pouring rain.

"We will wait no matter how long it takes," he said. "Three hours or five, it doesn't matter."

The lottery tickets are for New Year's Eve draw with a grand prize of 61 million Turkish lira (about 16 million U.S. dollars), a fortune appealing to all.

The fact that the booth approached by Turan and the others is run by the family of Nimet Abla, or Big Sis Nimet, a legendary lottery dealer, makes everyone much more confident about their luck.

Nimet Abla began to sell lottery tickets of the Turkish Aeronautical Association in 1928, five years after the Turkish Republic was founded. She became well-known in 1931, when she sold the winning ticket of a grand prize of 100,000 Turkish lira.

Ever since, lottery tickets sold by her kiosk have won numerous hefty prizes year by year, including one fourth of last year's jackpot, a feat that has brought an incredible fame to the booth, which was taken over by Nimet Abla's descendants following her death in 1978.

"Buying the New Year's lottery tickets from Nimet Abla has become a tradition in the entire Turkey," said Turan.

For Sendil Gokdemir, a woman in her 50s, things have not gone well this year but she believed things would get better next year. "That's why I decided to pay a visit to Nimet Abla as I really believe in her luck," she said.

Other dealers across the city have mobilized their employees to the square, transforming the area into a huge lottery ticket market.

"Same ticket, same chance," some dealers were chanting, trying to draw the attention of the buyers lining up.

"When I ask people not to wait for Nimet Abla but buy tickets from me, they say they enjoy waiting while they dream of becoming a billionaire," said Ayse Sarac, a ticket dealer for 27 years.

"I suppose this is the entire belief of this tradition," she added.

Even though online sales are available with Nimet Abla, most people prefer to buy their tickets from the kiosk as a years-old habit, according to a worker with the booth.

The worker said the kiosk has to hire additional security guards this year to cope with a massive influx of buyers, as many come from other provinces.

Eighty percent of lottery tickets in Nimet Abla have been sold following the announcement of the prize draw on the first day of this month.