On Wednesday, a Canadian, or a group of Canadians, will win $68 million while playing Lotto 6/49.
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In most instances, there is a chance someone will win the big prize but in this case, it is guaranteed someone will score the Gold Ball jackpot.
“So Lotto 6/49 offers players the chance to win two multi-million-dollar jackpots on every draw night,” Atlantic Lottery spokesperson Lindsay Meekins explained.
“So there is the classic draw that offers a $5-million jackpot that remains at $5 million on every draw. And then there’s the Gold Ball draw that guarantees a winning ticket on every Lotto 6/49 draw.”
With the classic draw, those who wish to play can pick six numbers or they can use the Quickpick, but they get a 10-digit number for the Gold Ball draw on their ticket.
“So you have to kind of consider it like a raffle number and that number is picked,” said OLG’s Tony Bitonti.
“Now, the Gold Ball part of that is if that number is picked then we introduce 29 white balls and one gold ball, and each time one of those balls drops, you’re either guaranteed the jackpot of the time or you win the million dollars of a white ball drop.”
Each time a white ball wins, it remains out of the hopper until the Gold Ball is chosen while the Gold Ball prize continues to accumulate.
“So for the last 30 draws, that gold ball has not dropped,” Bitonti explained. “And for the first time since we made the changes in over a year that gold ball is the last ball in the hopper.
“And we can say with 100 per cent certainty that someone is guaranteed to win $68 million come Wednesday night’s draw.”
Now, while the odds of winning the Classic Draw are 1 in 13,983,816, the odds of winning the Gold Ball draw can’t be calculated until the draw takes place.
“We can’t say for certain what the odds are because it is really based on how many tickets are sold,” Bitonti said. “So depending on how many tickets are sold, that’s how many of those 10-digit numbers are generated. And that’s what the draw is based on.”
Both lottery spokespeople expect there will be high ticket sales as people are more likely to grab a ticket before a major lottery game is played.
“It creates a lot of excitement, a lot of chatter,” Meekins said. “It really just encourages a lot of people that maybe hadn’t thought about buying a ticket in a little while to go out and pick one up.”
Bitonti explained that “things start really heating up within those last few hours of the day as people are coming home from work and hear more of the of the news about it.”
The previous record for a draw was this past Saturday, although obviously no one won that or Wednesday’s record-breaking night would not be possible.
However, the previous record Gold Ball win was back on April 15, when a ticket that was sold in Gloucester County, N.B., hit the $64-million jackpot.
“That at the time was the largest lottery prize ever won at on Lotto 6/49 and it is the largest lottery prize ever won in Atlantic Canada,” Meekins said.
“That prize does currently still remain unclaimed.”
That does not mean they can’t still cash in their ticket for he $64 millions prize.
“Winners have a year from the draw date to claim their prize,” Meekins said. “So we’re working as much as we can to raise awareness and just remind our players to look for any ticket they may have not have checked yet so that they can come forward and claim that prize before their ticket expires on April 15th, 2024.”
While it seems foolhardy to think that someone might miss out on collecting millions of dollars, that is what happened in Ontario earlier this summer as the expiration date passed on a $70-million Lotto Max winner.
“Even to this day we still check to see if there’s been any activity on that ticket. Even though it’s invalid now, still nothing,” Bitonti said.
He has been around plenty of jackpots over his time spent with OLG.
“So I’ve been with OLG for 13 years and I’ve estimated I’ve been there for the big cheque presentations worth about $3 billion,” Bitonti said, noting that it is not just a life-changing event as he learned from a man during his first or second year on the job.
“I never thought about it this way. There’s a gentleman, probably about 45, 50 years old, and he said, ‘This money is not going to only change my life and the life of my children, but changed my great grandchildren’s lives.’”
While someone is going to win $68 million on Wednesday night, another person or a group of people might win or share the $5 million classic draw prize depending on what numbers come up.
“It does occur from time to time that the same numbers are drawn on to different tickets,” Meekins said.
“So, you know, two different winners could split that prize.”
There are a couple of number combinations one may want to avoid in hopes of splitting the jackpot.
Bitonti said, “Between mid-August of 2022 to mid August of 2023, the most popular number combination was, and this won’t be a surprise, seven, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42.”
He noted that the second most common choice is one, two, three, four, five and six.
“So if that number ever comes up, you have to split the $5 million jackpot with 34,000 people,” Bitonti explained.
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