Alberta Residents Score Big in 2015 Lotteries

By Ben Hamill - February 13 2016
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2016 was a big year for Alberta residents who count millions of dollars in wins over the course of the year. The Canadian lottery reports that winners from Alberta took the lion’s share of the 2015 lottery haul in WCLC wins in 2015. Albertans collected a record 76 prizes worth $234 million (out of a total of $281 million WCLC give-aways), spread out over 37 communities throughout Western Canada.

Kevan van Egdom, WCLC spokesman, commented that "Alberta was lucky because two of the Alberta prizes were for $50 million.”

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One of the reasons for the strong Alberta showing in Western Canada lottery wins could be that, despite (or perhaps because of) a downturn in the economy, Albertans have been expanding their spending on lottery products. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission reports that 2015 lottery sales in the province increased during 2015, reaching total expenditures of $57 million. ACLC’s chief executive officer and president, Bill Robinson commented on the heightened interest that many people have to keep gambling in a recession. He said that “you find ticketed lotteries start to pick up, while VLTs and slot machines come down in this kind of economy. It all boils down the amount of disposable income people have to spend.”

Alberta Prizes

The two largest 2015 windfalls in Alberta included big prizes won in Lamont in January, in Fort Kent in August and in Edmonton in November. For $1 million winners, the biggest number of prize winners came from Edmonton (11) and Calgary (15), Alberta’s biggest metropolitan areas. The entire year saw 49 $1 million-and-over wins in Alberta together with numerous smaller prizes in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Van Egdom said that “"it's nice to see a lot of prizes are for $1 million and that there are communities from all over the province represented. It's really spread out." Van Egdom explained the prize spread among the various WCLC products. "Our big jackpot game, Lotto Max had a lot of big jackpots…there were a lot of extra prizes and 17 of those were Maxmillions."

Fort Kent

Raymond Scott’s wife didn’t believe him when the Fort Kent resident told her that he’d hit the jackpot. Scott would customarily joke about “winning it big” — every win of $2 would prompt him to declare that ‘they’d won the lottery’ — so when he actually won, his wife was dubious. “My wife was in a different part of the store when I scanned my ticket" he said. “I found her and told her that we won. She just looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, OK – whatever.'”

Scott bought his ticket at the M & M Mini Mart in Ardmore, Alberta and believes that his loyalty to the market was responsible for his luck. He said that “”I'd go and buy lottery tickets from other places, and I wouldn't win anything. But whenever I buy a ticket from that store, I would win a little bit here and there. So I went back hoping to win something. I didn't think that something would be $50 million, though!”

Scott just got married but he and his wife weren’t able to take a honeymoon at that time. Now they will. The money will also be put towards vacations, helping out family and college funds.

Lamont

In Lamont Alberta Randall Rush won $50 million, thanks to his purchase of a Lotto Max ticket for the January 16th 2015 draw. While buying cat food for his cat, Conway Kitty, Rush checked his Lotto Max ticket. He noticed that the draw numbers matched his own and he began to hyperventilate and scream, right in the store.

Rush had purchased his ticket at the Lamont Grocery. Lamont is a small town with fewer than 2000 residents, located just east of Edmonton.

Rush sees his win as an opportunity to give back. He was once almost homeless so be believes that God has entrusted him with the payout to do better things. “This is a tremendous amount of money. I’m looking at this as a gift from God and it’s a responsibility. And so I’m going to set up a trust fund and the interest that spins off this trust fund will go to feed hungry kids and homeless children around the world.”

Rush also plans to treat himself to his dream, a 1965 Corvette.

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Calgary

In Calgary, Julie Kelly won $1.6 million in the December 7th Lotto 6/49 draw. Kelly, who is expecting her first child, generally plays Lotto Max but this time she decided to take a chance on the Lotto 6/49.

Kelly bought her ticket at the Safeway Gas Bar on 130 Ave. in Calgary. For some reason, she immediately checked the ticket. "I usually take one day after the Lotto Max draw (on Friday) to imagine what I'd do if I won before I check it on Sunday. But I didn't take an extra day after the Lotto 6/49 draw, and I still checked it on Sunday."

When she checked online she discovered that the draw numbers — 2,8,11,15,24,17 — matched her own.

She checked online and discovered her six matched the winning numbers from the draw — 2, 8, 11, 15, 24 and 27. "I called to my husband, ‘I think I won!'" she said.

Kelly and her husband are planning to use some of the funds from their win to buy a house and a car in order to accommodate their growing family. "We want a place with a nice big backyard to play in," Kelly said. They’ve always dreamed of a trip to Europe and are thinking of putting some of the money in a savings account towards that goal.

Albertans are looking to 2016 in the hopes that it will be another big year for Alberta lottery successes.

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