MONTREAL — A somewhat secretive group of Montrealers who recently won the $60-million Lotto Max grand prize picked up their cheques Wednesday and were presented to the media.
Quebec’s gaming authority described the nine winners as colleagues “who work in finance in downtown Montreal.”
Several of the big winners spoke to reporters but they wouldn’t say what they did for a living or where they worked.
When asked if they were already wealthy before they found out they would be sharing the $60 million in prize money, winner Julie Beland said “it depends on how each of us defines (rich).”
“For some of us, yes, for others, no,” said Beland, who said she was in her 30s. “We were people who made efforts that needed to be made to get to where we were.”
Her colleague, Haidar Abi Haidar, 27, said, “Money doesn’t create anything. We were comfortable.”
Abi Haidar said Loto-Quebec’s description of them being in finance was not entirely correct.
“It’s a bit more complicated,” he said. “It’s a multi-industry (company), I would say; we would rather keep that quiet.”
On Sunday, Enzo Scattone woke up and checked his go-to internet news website and discovered the grand prize winners were a group from Montreal.
Thinking he might have just gotten very lucky, Scattone checked the numbers on Loto-Quebec’s website and started crying.
“Yeah, I cried,” said Scattone, who didn’t respond when asked how old he was. “I thought of a lot of things, of my family.”
Beland said she and her eight colleagues will take the time to reflect on their future, but said winning millions hasn’t changed their life goals.
“All the projects we had planned before this money are the same,” she told reporters. “Now we have more possibilities to complete what we had in mind. We will remain grounded.”
The nine usually split one ticket, but this time around, due to it being the holiday season, they each played $20.
“We calculated the odds,” said Abi Haidar. “It was the first time we (put in as much).”
Lotto Max is a Canada-wide lottery and the maximum jackpot is $60 million.
Quebec’s gaming authority says the approximate odds of winning the jackpot are one in about 28.6 million with one play.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press