Lotto Max jackpot claim on hold

A couple from Hawkesbury, Ont., who hold the winning ticket for last weekend’s $50-million Lotto Max draw will be waiting a little longer for the loot. Lottery officials say JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne have been employed as lottery retailers in the past year, so their claim must go through a special process.

TORONTO — A couple from Hawkesbury, Ont., who hold the winning ticket for last weekend’s $50-million Lotto Max draw will be waiting a little longer for the loot.

Lottery officials say JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne have been employed as lottery retailers in the past year, so their claim must go through a special process.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. requires that any prize claims by so-called “insiders” — which includes retailers — must be thoroughly reviewed.

The payment of prizes to insiders is held for 30 days to allow anyone with concerns about the prize to come forward.

OLG says the Champagnes had owned and operated Jo’s Depanneur in Hawkesbury, about midway between Ottawa and Montreal, until October.

It says JoAnn Champagne had continued working at the convenience store until recently, but the winning ticket was purchased at a different store in Hawkesbury called Pharmaprix.

Under OLG policy, retailers cannot buy, check or redeem their own tickets at their place of work but are allowed to play at other retail locations.

An OLG spokesman said earlier this week that the winning ticket in the Dec. 30 draw had been validated in the Ottawa area.

The prize claim will be reviewed by OLG and independently through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the province’s lotteries.

OLG says it will not comment further on the prize claim until the process is complete.