International News Desk – At Home: Keeping an eye on the prize – In Foreign News: Australia hit by wave of ATM explosions

International News Desk – At Home: Keeping an eye on the prize – In Foreign News: Australia hit by wave of ATM explosions

At Home: Keeping an eye on the prize

If You’re drawn by the lure of big-money prizes on scratch tickets, your odds of winning may be smaller than you think.

A lawsuit launched in western Canada is challenging the practice of selling scratch-and-win tickets after the top prizes have already been won, and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation will be watching the outcome closely.

Although similar lawsuits have been filed against lottery corporations in the US, Atlantic Lotto continues to engage in the practice.

Courtney Pringle, of Atlantic Lotto’s public affairs and corporate communications department, told reporters that some customers will still want to play even if they have no chance of winning the top prizes.

?People play the lottery for a lot of different reasons,? Pringle told the CBC. ?In some cases certainly they play more for the enjoyment of playing.?

While there may be some who enjoy the thrill of scratching the cards with no thought of a big payout, others will clearly be hoping for the big win. If You’re one of them, you may want to check the Atlantic Lotto website before you part with your money. For the past two years, info has been posted on the company’s website showing the number of top prizes left for each series of scratch tickets.

Atlantic Lotto’s website says it will pull tickets ?when the top prizes have been claimed for games that feature significant or unique top prizes that represent a significant percentage of the total prize pool.? A significant prize is considered to be $500,000 or above, and only three scratch-and-win games currently fit that criteria.

In Foreign News: Australia hit by wave of ATM explosions

It started in the Netherlands, and bank machines in Australia are now under attack by robbers using a method called ?plofkraak.? The word means ?blast breaking-in,? and thieves have blown up 11 bank machines across Sydney since September.

Thieves drill holes in the front of cash machines, then remotely ignite a mixture of oxygen and flammable gas that is piped in. Plofkraak has become increasingly popular with criminals in Europe and Africa since 2005, and in the past week alone three bank machines in Australia were blasted in a single day.

Australian police have re-formed a special task force to combat the problem, and manufacturers are fighting the technique as well. They have redesigned their ATMs to include vents, which allow the gas to seep out as soon as it enters. But as one security expert noted, the technique is still ?incredibly dangerous.?

?An ATM is full of sparks even when It’s sleeping,? Richard Gould told reporters. ?To inject concentrated gas is asking for trouble?all that has to happen is . . . one spark and there could be an explosion that causes injury to them or some other person.?

That may have been the case in one of the Australian explosions, as The Advocate reports. The blast created a large field of debris and left the robbers without a getaway car. It was pelted with shrapnel in the explosion, ?causing its airbags to be triggered and leaving it immobile.?

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