A Winnipegger received an email notification earlier this week of a monster windfall — and it wasn’t a scam.
The Western Canada Lottery Corp. doesn't scam anyone.
Someone — or a group of someones — is $60 million richer, after winning Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot. The precious ticket was sold in Winnipeg and represents the largest lottery jackpot in Manitoba history.
"Obviously, we're all really excited. It's been some time that we've had a big win like this in Manitoba. It's been a tough year for everyone, so a little bit of good news is always nice," John Towns, WCLC corporate communications manager, said Tuesday.
"The winner is living a situation where that dream has become a reality for them, which is something only very few get to experience, so it's really fantastic."
A cheque bearing a whopping seven zeros has yet to be formally claimed. However, WCLC knows the identity of the winner — who likely just inherited a pile of long-lost relatives — and initiated contact by email.
That's because the ticket was bought on the Play Now online platform, and the purchaser would have logged in as an account member of the online retailer, provided by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corp.
Before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in Manitoba, major-prize winners would have alerted the corporation either by phone or a drop-in to WCLC headquarters on York Avenue in Winnipeg. In-person ticket sales had been deemed non-essential by the province in November; retail operations were allowed to resume Jan. 23 everywhere but in the Northern Health region and the town of Churchill.
"The winner would have received an email that they won, which is quite a way to find out you're $60 million up. We hear from a lot of Play Now winners that they take a look at the email and go, 'What?' and then log into their accounts to validate," said Towns.
"So, we do know who they are. We're not yet going to release that information, but we've been in contact with the winner and we're going to be taking the next steps reasonably quickly," he said.
"We do have quite a few checks and balances, as you can imagine, to go through before we give up $60 million. We don't just give it away immediately, so we'll work through our process now. But we hope to have more information for folks shortly."
Towns confirmed the lucky winner resides in the city, and faces some obvious publicity.
"We do have a requirement to release the names of individuals who win one of our major prizes, just as a bit of a transparency measure to ensure folks in the community know these are real prizes won by real people," he said.
The previous record in Winnipeg was a $27.2-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot won in 2005, by Dawn Fraser. The provincial record was a $50-million Lotto Max jackpot in 2009, by Kirby and Marie Fontaine of Sagkeeng First Nation.
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