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22-year-old wins $70M, biggest lottery jackpot in Quebec’s history

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A “tight-knit” family from Lévis, on the south shore across from Quebec City discovered on Wednesday they were $70 million richer, after winning the biggest jackpot in the province’s history.

Gregory Mathieu along with seven family members recounted their reactions and received the fat cheque from Loto-Quebec on Friday morning.

Mathieu, 22, was finishing his shift as a bagger at a Lévis IGA grocery story when he decided to verify his lottery ticket.

“I purchased the lottery ticket on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 9:35 at night, 20 minutes before the closure,” said Mathieu.

“I wasn’t thinking much about it; I thought it would just be a participation. When I saw the ticket I was in a state of shock.”

As the machine went off with the sounds of a winning ticket, Mathieu immediately asked the cashier to confirm what he was seeing.

The cashier confirmed: he had the winning ticket.

The first person he called was his mother Sandra Julien, who didn’t believe her son at first.

“I said, ‘Gregory, your father and I don’t have funds to miss work for a bad joke, pass me to someone to confirm that what you’re telling me is true,’” said Julien.

“His coworker said it was true and I asked Gregory to send me a picture of the confirmation — and then after that I’m missing a few pieces.”

Mathieu said during the press conference on Friday the whole store congratulated him.

“I shook practically everyone’s hand in the place, they were touching me a lot for luck,” Mathieu said, laughing.

The Mathieu-Julien family chose a randomly-generated ticket, also known as a “quick pick”, but turns out the winning numbers have a deep significance.

“Gregory purchased the ticket the 25th and it was our eldest sister’s birthday, who happens to be Gregory’s godmother. Our sister committed suicide 10 years ago,” said Julien.

The winning ticket included the number 10.

“My mother used to always say, ‘One day we’re going to win the lottery!’ and she would buy tickets religiously,” said Julien.

“On her deathbed she said, “Girls, I will find a way to come back to see you,” she said, choking up. “And she found a way.”

Mathieu said he earns $12.55 an hour and was constantly worrying about how he could afford moving into an apartment.

The family kept reiterating that they’re a united family filled with love. “We will never, ever change,” said Julien.

“And we are good people!” the family chanted in unison.

Despite the fact that his monetary worries are out the window, Mathieu insisted money can’t buy happiness.

“My family are the most important people in my life and nothing will come between us.”

Mathieu said he isn’t sure he’ll be returning to work as a bagger at IGA because many people would recognize him.

Some family members said the big win won’t stop them from trying their luck again.

“Keep buying tickets!” one of the sisters yelled out. “I purchased mine yesterday, I’ve been buying lottery tickets with my husband for over 26 years and we’ve always used the same numbers.

"I wasn't thinking much about it; I thought it would just be a participation. When I saw the ticket I was in a state of shock."

Brampton teen wins $200,000 on her first ever Lotto Max ticket

You have to be 18 in order to buy a lottery ticket

What would you do with $200,000?

Or, more specifically, $197,724.20?

That’s the big question 18-year-old Alyssa Caetano from Brampton, Ont., has to grapple with.

“I never thought I would win. I’m kind of speechless” – Alyssa Caetano, age 18

Alyssa won on two selections on her Lotto Max ticket as part of the Jan. 7 draw.

In Canada, you must be 18 or older to buy a lottery ticket and claim prize money. (Muriel Draaisma/CBC)

She won $197,679.90 on one selection and $44.30 on the other, bringing her total winnings to $197,724.20.

What’s she doing with the money?

Alyssa told OLG — the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation — that she plans on buying her mom a car and her best friend from Croatia a plane ticket so they can visit.

“The rest of the money I will invest, or maybe put towards the purchase of a home,” said Alyssa.

Although Alyssa won on Jan. 7, she wasn’t identified as the winner until she went in on Feb. 28 to claim her prize. She will receive her winnings in one lump sum, and in the full, untaxed amount.

What are the odds?

Alyssa bought a $5 ticket and spent $30 in different selections.

The chances of winning the secondary prize, the big prize that Alyssa won, are 1 in 4.75 million.

Even the chances of winning Alyssa Caetano’s smaller prize of $44.30 are small, with odds of 1 in roughly 1,000. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)

The chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 33.2 million. This means that if every person in Canada bought one selection of numbers each, it’s likely that only one person would win the jackpot.

Kids and lottery tickets aren’t a winning recipe

Tony Bitonti, a spokesperson for OLG, said ” [we] makeevery effort to prohibit minors from participating in our games and our own advertising standards are very clear about not using images or themes that would appeal to children or minors.”

He said OLG also partners with organizations like the National Council of Problem Gambling to promote the message that gambling is not for kids, especially not as gifts for birthdays or holidays.

In Canada, you have to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket and claim prize money.

Although Alyssa’s big win can make the lottery seem tempting, research suggests that lottery products can be harmful.

McGill University’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High Risk Behaviors warns that lottery tickets may act as a gateway for youth into more problematic forms of gambling.

They say gambling addictions can be as severe and damaging as addictions to drugs and alcohol.

According to the centre, gambling becomes an issue when someone continues to gamble despite experiencing negative consequences.

A big sign of problem gambling is loss of control, when someone spends more money and plays for longer than intended, and can’t stop thinking about gambling.

Need help?

If you are having issues with gambling or other addictions, the Kids Help Phone is available to help.

You can either call them at 1-800-668-6868.or text them at 686868.

Brampton, Ont.,. teen Alyssa Caetano won $200,000 on her first ever Lotto Max ticket during the Jan. 7 draw ]]>