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Friends at war over 'Amigo' lottery jackpot

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11:55 CEST+02:00

An argument over who should pocket the €1 million ($1.35 million) winnings from a lottery ticket has ended up pitting two long-term friends against each other. 

The game, ironically named 'Amigo', from majority state-owned lottery operator Française Des Jeux asks players to pick nine numbers and one jackpot number. TV screens in bars and cafés show a new set of winning numbers every five minutes.

In the L'Écrevisse café in the town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot, in the south west Aquitaine region, a dispute is raging over a jackpot winning ticket bought by 79-year-old Messaoud Boudissa, a regular of the bar, reports newspaper Sud-Ouest.

The café owner, 73-year-old Cheik Guendouzi, has claimed that he and Boudissa played the game together regularly and that on this particular day, he gave Boudissa the money to play.

"He didn't have any money so I gave him €20," the café owner told the newspaper. "He played and got the jackpot. He was happy to share it. But then after four or five days, he changed his mind as if he didn't know me anymore."

The ticket holder himself had a different story.

"These are lies," said Boudissa. "He wants me to give him the money, that's all. I did it with my money. I don't owe anyone anything."

The bar owner has hired a lawyer and claims he has around 30 people who can back up his version of events. 

"When he won, Messaoud Boudissa thought he'd only got €30," said Guendouzi. "If I had been dishonest, I would have given him the €30 and pocketed the million myself. Yet, I told him straight away that he'd won the jackpot and I even called Française Des Jeux."

At the time of the launch of the game in 2010, Française Des Jeux hoped that the innovative new screen-based game was a way to help fight the closure of lots of bars and cafés where lottery tickets are bought. 

The company's marketing director, Patrick Buffard, said the game would help to "reenergize" places where the game would be played.

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