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Heritage Loto sells 2.5m tickets ahead of €13m jackpot

Over 2.5 million tickets have been sold for the first ever “Loto du patrimoine” lottery in France, which is raising funds to restore historical monuments in need, and has a top jackpot of €13m.

The “Mission Patrimoine” Loto scheme was spearheaded by television presenter Stéphane Bern, and has already been hailed a “a great success” by Stéphane Pallez, CEO of French lottery company, la Française des Jeux (FDJ).

Overall, the scheme is aiming to collect up to €20 million in profit, with the money raised allocated to a “Heritage in Danger” fund.

This will go to help the 269 buildings and important historical sites that have been deemed in urgent need of restoration.

Of this number, 18 “iconic” monuments have been chosen as priority, and will each receive between €100,000 and €1m, to be spent on restoration and repairs.

These include the house of Pierre Loti in Rochefort (Charente-Maritime), the Fort-Cigogne at Fouesnant (Finistère) and the Villa Viardot in Bougival (Yvelines). There are also a selection of properties in France’s territories abroad, including the Maison Rouge in Saint-Louis on the island of La Réunion.

The first lottery draw is to take place tonight (Friday September 14), with a top jackpot on offer of €13m. It will be broadcast on TV channel TF1 at 20h35.

Over 12 million lottery tickets for the contest were put on sale two weeks’ ago; sold at €15 per ticket. Smaller entries are also available at €3 per scratchcard row.

For each €15 ticket, €1.52 - 10.13% of the total - will go to the heritage fund; €0.86 goes to the FDJ; €0.78 to retailers; €1.04 on taxes; and €10.80 to the eventual winners.

In addition to tonight’s draw, six scratchcard players (out of the 12 million tickets printed) will be eligible to win up to €1.5m - €500,000 more than for the usual scratchcards in France.

Eight other tickets will win €150,000, and 20 will win €15,000. Players will also have chance to win at least €15, to cover the initial cost of their larger ticket.

There are six months of the contest left to go.

More tickets will be on sale this weekend especially, during the forthcoming European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine), this September 15 and 16.

Ms Pallez said: “At the rhythm we are going, in six months, all of the tickets should be sold. We are already clear [in just two weeks] that have collected over €4 million [in profit for the fund].”

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