In an effort to revive its tourism industry, Hong Kong is giving away free airline tickets. The government will allocate the tickets via lottery in three waves starting March 1. First, travelers in Southeast Asia can apply. Then, residents of mainland China hongkong pools can sign up for the giveaway in April. Then, the program will open to residents around the world in May. The tickets will be available through three airlines: Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express. The giveaway will cost the city approximately $250 million.
The Mark Six lottery game is run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and has been around since September of 1975. It has been reformed several times through the years and currently features 6 numbers drawn and an Extra Number that is used to determine winners in prize levels 2, 4 and 6. The jackpot starts off at 8 million Hong Kong dollars and can roll over every week with no limit on how high it can go.
During special “Snowball Draws” throughout the year, there is a higher chance to win bigger prizes. These are usually held during holidays like Mid-Autumn, Chinese New Year, Summer and Christmas and can result in some incredibly large jackpot figures.
Smuggling of lottery tickets is a big business in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, officials found more than a dozen packages that were shipped into the country from China, where lottery sales are banned. HK01 reported that the packages were packed in a variety of containers, including suitcases and cardboard boxes. The smugglers could face up to seven years in prison if they’re caught.