VIENNA, Austria – Walter Egger never had much luck with lotteries. That all changed Tuesday, when he won the raffle of a luxury villa worth more than $1 million in Austria's southern province of Carinthia.
The 51-year-old father of three, who runs a home for the mentally ill in the Carinthian hamlet of Zweinitz, bought a $128 raffle ticket in the hopes of becoming the villa's new owner.
Raffle organizer and former villa owner Traude Daniel said the 9,999 tickets sold out within days in early December. The 60-year-old said she even got inquiries from as far afield as the United States and Brazil.
"The response was amazing ... we got e-mails from around the world," Daniel said.
Daniel said the 4,300-square-foot house was on the market for about half a year before she came up with the idea of the raffle.
The raffle has inspired several other home owners across the country to try their luck lottery-style.
Juergen Tatscher, who is planning to raffle off his luxury mountain bungalow, says it's an ideal way to cover one's costs if selling property the regular way proves to be tough.
"I think it's a great idea," Tatscher said.
But not everyone is as enthused.
"I'm skeptical ... if people are seriously interested in a particular property, they'll make a bid the regular way," said Friedrich Noszek of an association of Austrian property owners.