Central Alberta residents have lottery fever

Despite a record aggregate jackpot of $70 million in the Lotto Max, few ticket-buyers at Bower Place Shopping Centre on Thursday shared visions of Scrooge McDuck or Donald Trump-type lifestyles.

Despite a record aggregate jackpot of $70 million in the Lotto Max, few ticket-buyers at Bower Place Shopping Centre on Thursday shared visions of Scrooge McDuck or Donald Trump-type lifestyles.

Reserve was the name of the game.

“If I won that much, I’d give a lot away. Give it to charity,” said Rod MacDonald, who changed up his usual Lotto 6/49 purchase to the Lotto Max because of the copious cash at play. “There’s no way anybody my age could handle all that money.”

MacDonald said he knew he had slim chances, “but you got a ticket, you got a chance.”

Susan Clarke took the chance because she heard about the single $50-million jackpot in the news. The lucky lady has won $1,000 and $500 in lotto purchases in the past, and said she’d pay off her house if her numbers came up.

“Get over the shock of winning any kind of money like that, and then you’d decide what kind of fun to have,” said Clarke.

One woman who already had a game plan for the jackpot didn’t even know how big it was when she bought her ticket. Marilyn Weselosky said the Lotto Max ticket in her hand was the second one she’s bought in her entire life, and that “I just got a feeling today that I’m going to buy a ticket.”

“Ooh, right on. I’ll take $20 million. I’m not greedy,” Weselosky said when informed of the stakes.

She said that if she won anything significantly more than $1 million, she’d give $1 million to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“I would share it with my family, make sure the kids are set up for college. And the rest of my family would have no bills to pay. No mortgages. Nothing.”

After that, Weselosky said she’d shop for “prizes” like a new motorcycle for her brother.

“What would I do? Probably take a cruise, like a nice one, 36-day cruise or something. And finish up my yard, build a garage, maybe buy a new motorcycle (for myself) . . . Oh yeah, I got lots of plans.”

Don Holloway, meanwhile, would go from semi-retired to retired. He’d move out of Red Deer, too, in order to join his grandchildren in Spruce Grove.

Kiosk owner Shamin Nadhu, kept unusually busy by a steady stream of Lotto Max players, said that many customers were excitedly discussing their prospects. By early afternoon, she said she’d maybe sold more than 100 tickets on Thursday alone.

Tickets can be purchased up until 7 p.m. tonight, after which time the results will be released. Besides the single $50-million jackpot, there are also 20 jackpots of $1 million each up for grabs. It’s the largest prize amount in Canadian lottery history.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com

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