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4.8 million people nearly win lottery
At least 4.8 million people were almost overjoyed when they heard the numbers that nearly made them all instant multi-millionaires drawn live on television on Saturday evening.
"I had four of the six numbers," said one close to elated punter. "If they had all been on the same line - and I had guessed the other two - I would have been a winner for sure!"
"Phew, that was close," he added.
Lottery officials have confirmed the record high number of near winners for this weekend's draw.
"This proves for once and for all that almost anyone could nearly win millions and millions of Rands," said a Lottery spokesperson.
"All it takes is a R2.50 ticket to put yourself in line to be one of the millions of people who have nearly won the lottery so far."
But many punters disagree that nearly winning the Lottery even requires the purchase of a ticket.
"I forgot to buy a ticket a couple of weeks ago," explains Lottery enthusiast Tony Sloane, 33. "But let me tell you, the numbers that came up that weekend would have been exactly the numbers I would have picked, give or take a number or two.
"So I nearly won, and I didn't even buy a ticket!"
Lottery officials concede that several people have in fact nearly won without purchasing a ticket.
"I suppose it's possible," says our Lottery spokesperson, "but how can they prove it?"
Many near winners are optimistic about their chances in next week's draw. Statistics show that those who nearly win the lottery in one week are 99.998 per cent likely to nearly win in the following week.
This makes punters like Tony enthusiastic about their chances.
"It's just a matter of time before I come *this close* to nearly winning the Grand Prize," he says.