John Chua admits he was a little disappointed when his wife, Jhoana, woke him up early in the morning on January 23 to tell him someone in Winnipeg had brought home a massive $60 million LOTTO MAX jackpot.
“I was jealous of whoever won…not knowing it was me,” he recalled with a laugh.
John, who regularly picks up tickets on behalf of his family, started buying them online with PlayNow.com in November when retail sales of lottery tickets in Manitoba were restricted as part of public health orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Ticket sales of retail have since re-started in most of the province with changes to public health orders.
When John blearily checked his PlayNow.com account early the morning after the January 20 LOTTO MAX draw, he says he didn’t see anything to indicate his ticket was a winner. Then later that day he received an email from PlayNow.com , and everything changed.
“I thought it might be a Free Play or something. But it said $60 million – I was confused, so I checked on PlayNow.com when I got home,” he explained.
“And there it was; I didn’t see it earlier in the morning.”
John – who is sharing the win with his wife Jhoana Chua, mother Angie Chua, and uncle Ben Lagman – did actually win two Free Plays…along with a $60,000,020 prize; the largest lottery jackpot ever awarded in Manitoba and the biggest payout ever in Canada from a ticket bought online. The group matched all seven winning numbers for the draw – 26, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49 and 50.
“He always plays jokes – he’s a joker, so I didn’t believe it,” Angie recalled her son telling her their family was about to be multi-millionaires. “I believe now that it’s real,” she continued as the family filled out the paperwork to claim their prize. “Now we’re not just dreaming anymore.”
John, who noted that even though his family’s lottery dreams have come true he’ll probably keep playing – “It’s a lot of fun,” he chuckled – credits options like PlayNow.com , lottery subscriptions , and remote ordering and pickup of lottery tickets as being important to allow players to keep playing when sales at retail were temporarily suspended.
“A lot of people weren’t able to get tickets because they weren’t able to buy at the store, so being able to do it online was great,” he said. “I’ve told myself ‘if you’re not going to buy a ticket, you’re not going to win,’” he noted. “People talk about what they’d do if they win the lottery, but that won’t happen unless you buy a ticket.”
The group isn’t sure exactly what they’ll do with their winnings yet, but one purchase John says he and his wife will be making soon is a home for their growing family.
“I wasn’t really expecting anything – I was hoping for just a little to put toward a house,” explained John. “There’s a lot of things that come to mind – but I’m going to take my time. I want to be wise. We’ve got kids and need to think for our future. I just want to take the time and do the smart thing.”
“It’s a huge blessing,” added Angie. “We’re all very thankful – we just needed a little bit and we got a lot.”
PlayNow.com winners receive a courtesy email after any win, including instructions on how to claim the prize. Lotto Spot! retail lottery sales have now re-opened across Manitoba, with the exception of some areas in the North.
Congratulations John, Jhoana, Angie and Ben! Wishing you all the best!
(WCLC / HANDOUT))