Someone, somewhere in Alberta, is now $54.3 million richer.
Whenever I go online, I at least check out the headlines, and that's one that's been frequently updated today. Last I looked, they had it narrowed down to the town it was purchased in, but the winner has yet to come forward. I don't blame them (him? her?)! Can you imagine the media attention this person will get? Then all the leeches that will inevitably come out of the woodwork. This is the largest lottery jackpot in Canada's history (and it's tax free, too - in Canada, lottery winnings don't get taxed, though the interest earened on them in the bank is considerred taxable income). When I headed to the little store in our building to pick up some drinks last night, people were still coming in and buying tickets. The owner told me the lottery terminals actually shut down for an hour due to the incredible volume of purchases. In the last few hours before the cut off time for last night's draw, the estimated jackpot total of $40 million jumped $14.3 million. That's a lot of tickets! Even the lottery's website was overwhelmed by the number of people going online to check their numbers after the draw. Of course, we found that out by going online to check our own numbers. Hey, you can't win if you don't play! LOL
I must admit to being glad that the prize went to a Western province. Working at the gas station before moving here, one of my daily jobs was to restart the lottery terminal at 6 am. The very first thing that would print out the morning after a draw was how much was won and were. One thing I noticed was the winners were overwhelmingly from Ontario, followed by Quebec. It makes sense. Being the most populous provinces, the same percentage results in a significanly higher number of actual ticket sales. Still, we were always happy to see the rare times when a western or Atlantic province was listed instead. It's always nice to see the "underdog" win.
The media sure played along with the excitement as draw time came closer. Newspapers ran stories of "what you can buy with $40 million," showing multi-million dollar homes, luxury cars, and so on. A local radio station was giving away a lottery ticket for free every hour to callers.
Inevitably, there were also the "money can't buy you happiness" comments. These would be followed by stories of jackpot winners who blew their fortune and ended up miserable. The Manitoba man who committed suicide after loosing his $10 million dollar win was brought up, of course. How tacky!
Still others are saying that $40 million is "too much" money for any one person, and that it should be split up or whatever. Somehow, these people seem to think no one person "deserves" to have a lot of money - or should I say, more money than they themselves have. They sound a lot like all those letter writers telling the AB government what they should be doing with their surplus rather than sending $400 "prosperity checks" to every man woman and child in the province. After all, people might actually use the money to go out to dinner, buy drugs, or *gasp* not give it to their favourite charity. I wonder if they'd say the same thing if *they* were holding the winning ticket?
The reality is, however, that the majority of jackpot winners *don't* end up blowing their winnings while living high on the hog, then crashing and burning. When lotteries were first started, it was a problem often enough that the lottery corp. now offers the services of a financial planner to big winnder. The majority of the winners are, in fact, quite happy with their money. One interview I'd read (of a $4 million winner) told how at first, he did buy the large house and did some travelling, etc. After a while, though, he realized the house was too big for his needs, so he sold it and now lives in a smaller, more modest home. He's done the things he wanted to do, and now he lives a quiet, content life. He acknowledges being much happier after the win, what with not having to go to work anymore, not having to worry about bills, etc. This is the more common scenerio.
So, to our latest jackpot winner, I say congratulations! Enjoy your money, and don't let the naysayers make you feel guilty for not spending it on whatever pet cause they have. You have nothing to feel quilty about. Have fun!