Austrian home lottery winner drawn

The German woman who resorted to Internet lottery tactics when she had difficulty getting a fair price for her home in Austria (see previous InfoPowa report) has announced the successful conclusion of her project and the winner.

Traude Daniel put up 9 999 tickets priced at Euro 99 ($128) each on the Internet and reveals that these were sold out within days in early December, raising almost Euro 990 000 ($1 280 000). This exceeded the estimated value of the luxury 400 metre villa by almost Euro 160 000. Daniel claims that enquiries came in from around the world, including Brazil and the United States.

"The response was amazing. ... We got e-mails from around the world," she said.

The winner of the home is Walter Egger, an Austrian who's ticket was drawn Tuesday in the southern city of Klagenfurt.

Reports indictate that the success of Daniel's pilot scheme has fired up other house sellers in a difficult market, but according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, similar plans in that country are unlikely to be approved.

Christchurch real estate couple Brad and Janice Maxwell are trying it out in New Zealand, putting a $100 price tag on their online tickets which would give a limited number of winners the opportunity to bid on a home.

Although Maxwell characterises the scheme as an auction, he has been warned by the government's Department of Internal Affairs that the scheme is illegal. The Department's Gambling Compliance Manager, Debbie Despard, said that under New Zealand gambling law such a scheme would be illegal on several grounds.

"There is a huge element of chance in this so-called auction in which people pay to participate," she said.

"It is also online gambling, which the [Gambling] act defines as 'remote interactive gambling'. Gambling with prizes exceeding $500 can only be conducted by societies raising money for authorised charitable purposes, but this sales scheme is conducted by a private person for personal profit and cannot be licensed by the department," she explained.

Maxwell claimed he had received significant public support for his project, with sellers offering around $20 million in properties for auction under the scheme. He said the Internal Affairs stance would not kill his idea, although if it needed modification he would be happy to work with the appropriate government officials.

He said if he were forced to shut down the auction, he would. "But what I would really like is an opportunity to work with the [department] to see how we may modify the system."

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