ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — We’ll soon know exactly how many small-town Newfoundlanders have become instant millionaires with a history-making Lotto Max jackpot.
The massive $60 million windfall is expected to inject big money into multiple rural Conception Bay-area communities about an hour’s drive from St. John’s.
“If one person won it, it would be like ‘Oh, that’s too much money for one person,’” said John Smith, executive director of the Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
“It’ll definitely spread the wealth out among a bunch of different communities, depending how they want to use it. It’s a huge, positive thing.”
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation said Monday it will confirm within 24 hours just how many winners there are.
Corporation spokeswoman Tracy Shute said the last members of the winning group were interviewed Monday as a security process wraps up. If all goes smoothly, an official announcement will likely happen later this week.
“We’ll introduce the group and tell you some of their stories about the wonderful things they’re going to do with this money,” she said in an interview.
Shute did not confirm the total number who will share the biggest jackpot yet in Atlantic Canada and one of the top five ever in Canada.
She said the ticket for Friday night’s draw was bought somewhere on the Avalon Peninsula but would not reveal any other details.
Social media is abuzz with reports the jackpot will be shared by about 30 construction workers who live in small towns that have felt the brunt of recent economic swings. Newfoundland and Labrador was hit particularly hard when the oil price crash starting in 2014 drained crucial revenues from the provincial treasury.
Several major construction projects started winding down around the same time, including components of the Hebron offshore oil platform built at the Bull Arm fabrication site.
Shute said the historic win could be a “fantastic” infusion of cash in a province that can certainly use it.
“It’s really something.”
Smith said Monday he’s hearing the jackpot involves winners who live in small communities including Avondale, Conception Bay South, Holyrood, Bellevue and Come By Chance.
“This is a nice good story, about $1.8 million per person. It’s such a nest egg and security,” he said from Conception Bay South.