| KUALA LUMPUR, July 20
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 Some Malaysian shops
selling lottery tickets and illegal gambling syndicates have
rejected "hot" bets on numbers linked to the downing of a
Malaysia Airlines airliner.
Da Ma Cai, Toto and Magnum outlets had stopped taking bets
on the numbers 1717 and 777 since Friday, the Sunday Star said.
Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, was downed on July 17 over
Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed.
"We are not the only ones rejecting the numbers," a worker
at a Magnum outlet was quoted as saying. "Other outlets are also
turning punters away."
A Reuters visit to Toto and Magnum outlets revealed 1717 was
"sold out", meaning further bets were off.
Gambling is hugely popular in Malaysia but strictly
controlled with the four-digit lottery a favourite. Many Asian
gamblers believe that numbers associated with bad luck, such as
car numbers at an accident site, will later bring good luck.
"The number 1717 has been sold out since yesterday. Too many
people are buying," a cashier working at a Berjaya Sports Toto
Bhd outlet said.
"It is not about bad taste or anything, it is just that too
many people are buying the number," a cashier working with
Magnum Bhd said, adding that the company would have to
pay out too much if the number came up.
A member of an illegal syndicate also told the Star it had
also stopped taking the bets because demand was so high.
"Any digit placed in front or behind the number 777 was also
not accepted," the illegal syndicate member was quoted as
saying. "This was the instruction from my boss."
(Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)