It is cold in Istanbul. But that doesn’t seem to bother Turks who have been flocking to lottery ticket agencies to buy tickets for the big New Year’s lottery.
The most popular place to buy your tickets is the Nimet Abla kiosk in the Eminönü district next to the Yeni Camii (New Mosque) and the Spice Bazaar. Urban legend has it that you have a bigger chance to win when you buy a ticket from this ticket shop than anywhere else.
So I see long lines of hopefuls patiently waiting till they can buy their lottery tickets for themselves and for friends and family, who have no time of live further away. Although gambling is considered sinful in Islam, these Muslims don’t care and try their luck anyway, because the big prize is a sum 50,000 times that of Turkey’s monthly minimum wage.
This ticket agency is named after Melek Nimet Özden , more well known as Nimet Abla (Big sister Nimet). In 1928 she started selling and buying tickets of the national lottery (milli piyango). Three years later she hit the jackpot when she had bought the winning ticket of that year’s New Year’s lottery. Since then she became a national symbol of luck. Her kiosk got nationwide fame as the place to be to buy your luck.
There are very often winners from this magic spot, because one in every 10 lottery tickets sold in Turkey are sold here.
So if you are into gambling and want to try your luck while visiting the city, go and buy your ticket at Nimet Abla. Good luck!