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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 649 deadline time

For Frequently Asked Questions about the German 6 aus 49 game, click here.

Whether you are based in Canada or anywhere else in the world, playing Lotto 6/49 is quick and easy and can offer great prizes. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the game.

  • When do Lotto 6/49 draws take place?
  • Does Lotto 6/49 have a guaranteed minimum jackpot amount?
  • What was the largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot ever won?
  • What are the odds of winning the Canada 6/49 Lotto jackpot?
  • What time do Canada 6/49 Lotto ticket sales close?
  • How do I win playing 6/49 Lotto?
  • What is the Guaranteed Prize Draw?
  • Can I play Lotto 6/49 if I do not live in Canada?
  • If I win, how long do I have to claim a prize?
  • How old do I have to be to play Lotto 6/49?
  • Are winnings on Lotto 6/49 taxable?
  • Does Lotto 6/49 have a rollover limit or jackpot cap?
  • When is the next Lotto 6/49 draw?
  • What is the current value of the Lotto 6/49 jackpot?
  • How much does it cost to buy a Lotto 6/49 ticket?

Question: When do Lotto 6/49 draws take place?

Answer: Lotto 6/49 draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday, shortly after ticket sales close at 21.00 EST.

Question: Does Lotto 6/49 have a guaranteed minimum jackpot amount?

Answer: Lotto 6/49 has a guaranteed minimum jackpot of CA$5 million.

Question: What was the largest Lotto 6/49 jackpot ever won?

Answer: Zhe Wang of Mississauga, Ontario won $64 million in October 2015, which remains the largest prize paid out on Lotto 6/49. She waited until March the following year to come forward and collect her winnings.

Question: What are the odds of winning the Canada 6/49 Lotto jackpot?

Answer: The overall odds of winning any Lotto 6/49 prize are 1 in 6.6 and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816.

Question: What time do Canada 6/49 Lotto ticket sales close?

Answer: Ticket sales close at 21.00 EST on the evening of the draw and re-open later that evening. Players buying their Lotto 6/49 tickets through a concierge service should be aware that the cut-off time for purchasing entries may be set a few hours before the close of sales in Canada.

Question: How do I win playing 6/49 Lotto?

Answer: To win a prize on Lotto 6/49, players must match at least two of the main numbers drawn, which will net them a free ticket for an upcoming draw. Players must match all six main numbers to win the jackpot. For full details on prizes available, see the Lotto 6/49 Prizes page.

Question: What is the Guaranteed Prize Draw?

Answer: The Guaranteed Prize Draw is a supplementary game in which one ticket holder will win CA$1 million in every Lotto 6/49 draw. Every line that players purchase grants them one ten-digit code for the Guaranteed Prize Draw. If their code matches the one drawn, then they’ll win the money!

Question: Can I play Lotto 6/49 if I do not live in Canada?

Answer: Yes. Players outside of participating countries can use an online concierge service to buy Lotto 6/49 tickets. Visit the Lotto Tickets page to find out more.

Question: If I win, how long do I have to claim a prize?

Answer: Players have one year from the date of the draw to claim any Lotto 6/49 prize they have won.

Question: How old do I have to be to play Lotto 6/49?

Answer: Lotto 6/49 players buying tickets from authorised retailers must be 18 in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon Territories and Quebec. Players must be at least 19 years old in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and British Columbia. Players buying tickets through a concierge service must be at least 18 years old.

Question: Are winnings on Lotto 6/49 taxable?

Answer: Generally, winnings on Lotto 6/49 are tax-free, but players from outside Canada are advised to check with their local tax authority to find out more about their tax responsibilities if they do win a larger prize.

Question: Does Lotto 6/49 have a rollover limit or jackpot cap?

Answer: No, the Lotto 6/49 jackpot will roll over until it is won.

Question: When is the next Lotto 6/49 draw?

Answer: Saturday 23rd January 2021.

Question: What is the current value of the Lotto 6/49 jackpot?

Answer: The current Canada 649 jackpot is worth $8,000,000

Question: How much does it cost to buy a Lotto 6/49 ticket?

Answer: A single ticket costs $3. Please note that a small handling fee will also be required if you purchase your ticket through an online concierge service.

The most frequently asked Canada Lotto 6/49 questions answered here. Find out when the next draw takes place, what the next jackpot is and how to win a prize. ]]>