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Picture your own image of the Italian Mafia, is it a gang of mobsters searching to get their hands on money wherever they can, financing a drug ring or other crime filled activities? Well, it would seem that this stereotype is right.

It has recently been reported that Mafia members in southern Italy’s Calabria have been hunting down winners of Italy’s famous lottery, the SuperEnalotto, which is renowned for paying out large lottery jackpot prizes. Members of the Calabria mafia have been demanding that winners hand over their winning lottery tickets and using the lotto winnings to help launder their huge cocaine profits.

Italian police recently seized €5.6 million from one of the mafia groups in Locri, one of the most crime-plagued towns in Calabria, for their part in the scam. Laundering drug money through extorted lottery money helps mafia members and crime clans to bypass Italy’s tough anti-money laundering laws put in place by police trying to lessen Italy’s crime rates and remove the stereotypical status given to Southern Italy.

The SuperEnalotto is one of Europe’s most popular lottery games, played by lottery enthusiasts the world over, but residents of Italy are being warned by police to remain vigilant with their lottery tickets, winnings and any unusual spending. Many lottery winners in Italy, particularly in the southern part of the country, choose to remain anonymous after winnings a large lottery prize due to the amount of organised crime in the area, and those in the know will be aware of mafia scams surrounding lottery wins.

The Italian news agency – ANSA – insists that the mafia’s latest lottery winning scam is extremely successful and well planned, and maintains a strong warning to Italy’s lottery players.

Purchase your SuperEnalotto lottery tickets online at