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$1bn prize in dotcom competition

One in 2.4 billion chance of winning

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A New York dotcom is offering surfers the chance to win shedloads of cash and make a mess of their underwear.

Aptly named Grab.com was launched two days ago and offers online games and contests. In order to break into this packed market on the Net it has launched a lottery game with a $1 billion jackpot.

Punters have to choose seven numbers out of 77, and if they get them all correct they win the booty. Only hitch is that this works out at odds of one in 2.4 billion.

The company will advertise the competition online and on trucks. A Grab.com representative told The Register that the posters being driven around America's cities will carry the slogan "Are you ready to win one billion dollars?" and show a man's naked legs. His underwear will be around his ankles, with a brick sitting the garment.

"Shit a brick", the representative tentatively explained.

The other problem is that if someone beats the odds they won't actually be a billionaire until forty years' time - grab.com plans to spread out the $1 billion in instalments. The prize, which is covered by a policy underwritten by National Indemnity Company, will consist of $5 million annually for the first 20 years, followed by $10 million for the next ten, then nine instalments at $20 million and a one off $620 million in the last year.

"Everybody is offering the chance to win $1 million if you're willing to do something extreme," said Andrew Warner, Grab.com president. "But why eat a rat for a million when all you need to do is click your mouse for the chance to win a billion? The stakes are way up and the effort required is way down."

To enter the competition contestants have to fill in a registration form that requires them to 'opt in' to get at least one free email every day - jokes, horoscopes, trivia etc. These emails will contain ads and this is how grab.com aims to make its cash.

Only Americans and Canadians can enter and the competition closes on December 26. The winner, if there is one, will be announced on January 2. ®

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