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Culture

Lotto Fever Hits Germany

After Wednesday night's drawing, two lucky winners came forward to claim Germany's largest ever Lotto jackpot. But now that they've won, it's time to be sensible, say German Lotto authorities.

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Many Germans bought Lotto tickets for the first time

Just in time for a pre-holiday spending spree, two winners from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia came forward to claim Germany's largest ever Lotto jackpot on Wednesday. They will split a record €26.7 ($34.8) million between them.

However, their identity will not be revealed to the general public immediately, Lotto authorities announced on Thursday. They are giving them some time to consider their new-found fortunes with family and friends -- just in case new "fast friends" crawl out of the woodwork to claim a spot on the new winners Christmas list.

There's gold in them there hills

In the weeks leading-up to Wednesday night's drawing, as the jackpot grew, Lotto fever gripped the country. According to Horst Mentrup, the director of the Brandenburg Lotto GmbH, many people bought Lotto tickets for the first time and some living in neighboring countries crossed the border to buy tickets.

He likened it to a "goldrush feeling" at a press conference in Potsdam on Thursday.

We're rich, now let's be sensible

But despite the hysteria leading up to the drawing, it didn't take long for good old-fashioned German sensibility to set in. Lotto authorities said they would not give further details about the winner's identity, claiming they were giving the two winners time to consider -- in peace -- their plans for the future.

"They should now have the opportunity to consider -- with their closest friends and family -- what they want to do with their winnings," said Mentrup. "With a jackpot like this, the number of false friends can grow expotentially."

In addition, Lotto authorities offered, in keeping with custom, the winners the services of a bank's financial consultants, who will advise them on possible investments and savings options. "Based on our experience, it doesn't take long for the winners to come back down to earth and get down to business," said Mentrup.

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