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$50M Lotto Max win can buy anything except anonymity

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Former lottery winners say lucky ticket holder should prepare for wave of unwanted attention

The hucksters started calling only hours after Brenda Schley’s good fortune was announced.

Strange cars turned up outside her Clearwater, B.C., home. Then strangers began rubbing the 57-year-old for luck.

And that win only involved $1.75 million.

“It’s almost scary,” says Schley, a year after matching six out of six numbers on a Lotto 6/49 draw.

“We had to leave the house for about 10 days because the phone was ringing off the hook.”

A very public windfall

Schley says she can’t imagine the spotlight awaiting the holder of a $50 million winning Lotto Max ticket who stepped forward this week after waiting nearly a year to claim the prize.

Like it or not, their days of anonymity are about to end.

“I think people think that they have a choice that they can just say ‘I’m not going to tell anyone if I won the money’,” Schley says.

“I’ve heard people say that — but I know that’s not the way it works.”

In fact, one of the conditions of receiving a prize from the B.C. Lottery Corporation is consenting to the release of your name and photo as the winner of the prize. Similar rules govern other Canadian lotteries.

“The minute a player hands over his three or five dollars and purchases a lottery ticket, he is agreeing to those conditions,” says BCLC’s Chris Fairclough.

Lotteries generate an incredible public interest, he says.

“Our job is to pay out the rightful ticket winner and to ensure transparency so that the public — and lottery players — know that there are indeed winners.”

‘People know a lot about you’

In the wake of lawsuits and expos é s about crooked lottery retailers claiming prizes for themselves, the desire for transparency on behalf of gaming giants is understandable.

But that doesn’t make the spotlight any easier to endure, one winner says.

“I would have liked the option for it to be private,” says one Vancouver Island winner.

CBC has agreed not to name the woman, who won a million dollars in 2014, and was reluctant to expose herself to publicity and fraudsters again.

Her picture is among dozens on BCLC’s website featuring dazed winners struggling to hold up giant cheques overflowing with reams of zeroes.

She says she understands the need to advertise and the public’s desire to know, not to mention a lack of sympathy for lottery winners: “But suddenly — people know a lot about you.”

Winners offered a choice

By contrast, the licensed operator of the UK National Lottery, Camelot, offers winners the choice of anonymity.

And six U.S. states also allow lottery winners to keep their identities private: Delaware, Maryland, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina.

The office of B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner says they received a complaint several years ago about BCLC’s use of lottery winners’ personal information for marketing purposes.

They wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the case.

In pushing for anonymity, U.S.legislators have argued more than just embarrassment is at stake.

In 2013, a Chicago dry-cleaner was poisoned with cyanide hours after collecting on a $1 million scratch-and-win prize. And a Florida woman was convicted of murdering a man who publicly won a $30 million jackpot in 2006; she befriended him, killed him, buried him in her yard and then took control of his assets.

The lucky bear

Chinese mega-lottery winners have to endure a live televised broadcast of their win.

But unlike shy Canadians, they can hide behind costumes. That’s led to a series of bizarre cheque acceptance ceremonies involving a Panda, Mickey Mouse and a giant yellow bear.

The cute factor may not be as high, but several Massachusetts lottery winners have also managed to obscure their identities by sending lawyers and accountants to accept prizes on behalf of hastily drawn up legal trusts.

Fairclough doubts that would be possible in B.C.

“When someone does purchase a ticket, it’s an actual individual that purchases the ticket,” he says. “An actual ticket holder must come forward to ensure that they are the legal rightful holder of that ticket before we’ll pay it out.”

Schley says she doesn’t ultimately have a problem with the publicity.

“It’s just something you have to learn and learn how to deal with anyway,” she says. “People are going to find out anyway.”

And even had she dressed as a giant yellow bear, it’s doubtful Schley could have kept the win secret in her community — Clearwater has a population of just over 2,300.

But she says her neighbours were never the problem.

After waiting almost a year to claim a $50 million prize, the holder of a winning Lotto Max ticket is about to endure a tsunami of publicity. That's because the B.C. Lottery Corporation insists on its right to publish the names of people who win.

Lotto Max

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Detailed results for the main draw
Category Winners Prizes
7/7 0 $55,000,000.00
6/7+B 0 $241,722.70
6/7 39 $6,198.00
5/7+B 153 $947.90
5/7 2,901 $116.70
4/7+B 5,044 $52.70
4/7 66,928 $20.00
3/7+B 67,048 $20.00
3/7 657,557 Free Play
TOTAL 799,670
Origin of winning tickets
7/7 6/7+B
Québec 0 0 0
The Prairies 0 0 0
British Columbia 0 0 0
Atlantic Provinces 0 0 0
Ontario 0 0 0
Detailed results for the Extra draw
Category Winners Prizes
Complete number (7 digits) 0 $1,000,000 *
Last 6 digits 0 $25,000
Last 5 digits 5 $500
Last 4 digits 57 $50
Last 3 digits 527 $20
Last 2 digits 5,224 $5
Last digit 52,308 $2
First 6 digits 0 $10,000
First 5 digits 4 $500
First 4 digits 68 $50
First 3 digits 545 $20
First 2 digits 5,258 $5
TOTAL 63,996
Detailed results for the main draw
Category Winners Prizes
7/7 0 $2,000,000.00 *
6/7+B 0 $100,000.00 **
6/7 4 $1,000.00
5/7+B 5 $200.00
5/7 192 $100.00
4/7+B 312 $20.00
4/7 4,147 $10.00
3/7+B 4,171 $10.00
3/7 41,232 Free Play
TOTAL 50,063
Detailed results for the draw of additional selections 14 x $1 million ( divisible )

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Lotto Max – Summary

  • Cost : $5 for 1 play (comprised of 3 selections)
  • Minimum jackpot: $10,000,000, growing from draw to draw up to $70,000,000 if it is not won
  • DRAW FREQUENCY: Bi-weekly, every Tuesday and Friday
  • DEADLINE FOR WAGERS: Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 p.m.
  • APPROXIMATE ODDS OF WINNING A PRIZE: 1 in 7.0 with 1 play
  • APPROXIMATE ODDS OF WINNING THE jackpot : 1 in 33,294,800 with 1 play
  • Theoretical PAYOFF RATE: 48%
  • First draw: September 25, 2009

Jackpot and Maxmillions

The jackpot starts at $10,000,000 and, if not won, increases at each draw for a maximum jackpot of $70,000,000.

Maxmillions (prizes of $1,000,000) are offered when the jackpot reaches $50,000,000. Notably, when the amount of the 7/7 pool for any given draw exceeds $50,000,000, it shall be capped at an amount set between $50,000,000 and $70,000,000 inclusive (the “7/7 pool cap”), and the excess is divided into additional prizes of $1,000,000 (Maxmillions). The difference is added to the 6/7+B pool.

For example: The advertised jackpot (the 7/7 pool cap) is set at $50,000,000. If the 7/7 pool reaches $52,214,000, on top of the $50,000,000 jackpot, two Maxmillions will be drawn. The remaining amount of $214,000 would be added to the 6/7+B pool.

If the $50M jackpot is not won, the Maxmillions that were not won are added to those of the next draw. Thus, if the 2 Maxmillions are not won, the offering could increase, for example, to $55M + 4 Maxmillions, then to $60M + 6 Maxmillions, then to $65M + 8 Maxmillions, and finally, to $70M + 10 Maxmillions. If the $50M jackpot is won, the Maxmillions that were not won are added to the jackpot pool for the next draw. The jackpot for that draw will then be $10,000,000 + the Maxmillions that were not won.

Additional selections drawn for Maxmillions prizes are not decomposable and each prize is shared amongst the winners.

Lotto Max – Play this Loto-Québec draw game online and at retailers. Announced jackpot starting at minimum $10,000,000. Draw each Tuesday and Friday. View draw results here. ]]>