Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Qld, SA winners celebrate lotto luck, by Larine Statham - Fairfax - 1st July 2009

Two households on opposite sides of the country will begin the new financial year $53 million richer after winning Australia's biggest division one Oz Lotto prize.

A middle-aged Gold Coast couple, who won with their first Oz Lotto foray, and a South Australian man who is a long-time lottery ticket buyer, will share the $106,548,562.15 jackpot drawn on Tuesday night.

The man, aged in his 40s, said he felt numb as he watched his numbers drop on the televised lotto draw.

"I couldn't move, I couldn't react, I couldn't do anything but sit there and stare at my ticket," the man from Adelaide's blue collar western suburbs told SA Lotteries.

"Quite frankly I have no idea how I'm ever going to sleep again.

"I never expected to win and certainly never expected to win more than $50 million."

He said he would share his prize with family members and charities.

Staff at the cafe where the man purchased the winning ticket were overwhelmed as media and customers on Wednesday swarmed on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital eatery.

Lizzy's Cafe manager Louis Sitarenos said he was exhausted from all the attention but was pleased to have finally sold a division one winning ticket.

"We have had wins here before but nothing of this magnitude," he told AAP.

"To think so many tickets were sold at so many agencies and the winning ticket was bought here.

"It's great for the western suburbs, great for South Australia ... a win like this makes everyone excited, it's good for the morale."

The identity of the South Australian man has not been revealed.

"We had quite a few people buying tickets yesterday, so we're not aware what time or when it was bought or which of us sold it," Mr Sitarenos said.

"The only information we have is that it was an easy pick - $15, so it's not a bad return on the investment, is it?"

Nigel Bean, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Adelaide, said that with 45 million possible combinations, the chance of picking the winning numbers was similar to picking a particular playing card from decks stacked 16 kilometres high.

He said the more entries, the bigger the likelihood of there being multiple winners.

The Tuesday night jackpot draw originally set for $90 million was pushed up by a surge of late entries, taking the first division prize to just over $106.5 million and the total prize pool to $177.4 million.

Lucky Mermaid News on the Gold Coast also celebrated the jackpot on Wednesday after selling its first division one winning ticket.

The couple who bought the ticket, who want to remain anonymous, went to work on Wednesday despite their new found wealth.

Golden Casket Lottery spokeswoman Karen Anning said it was business as usual for the couple, as they decided how to spend their winnings.

"They want to help out family and donate money to some charities," Ms Anning said.

Another 60 people will each get more than $33,000 from the second division pool.

The division one payouts mark the second highest win ever from an Australian lotto jackpot. (Credit: Fairfax)

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