Duarte Almeida, a retired mechanic who lives in Victoria City, British Columbia won CA$13.7 million after 28 years of playing with the same combination of lottery numbers. Although Almeida knew that someone from Victoria had won the Lotto 6/49 ticket for the August 2 draw, it never crossed his mind that the winning numbers drawn were the numbers he had faithfully stuck to for nearly thirty years.
Three weeks had passed before Duarte came around to visiting a British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) office to check his Lotto 6/49 ticket against the winning numbers. He almost fainted when he realized that he was the lucky winner of the August 2 jackpot worth CA$13.7 million. A female clerk from the lottery ticket office was quite concerned and came over to help the shaking Duarte who seemed on the verge of fainting. Duarte handed her the ticket and only then did she realize that the retired mechanic from Victoria, was in a state of shock for winning the multi-million jackpot.
After the BCLC office confirmed Duarte’s life-changing win, Duarte went to his wife who was waiting inside their truck, to tell her the good news. Her initial reaction was not to take him seriously, because Duarte had always pinned his hopes on those numbers in becoming a lottery jackpot winner someday, but only as some kind of joke.
Duarte told reporters that back in 1986, he had bought a small plastic gadget that generates possible lottery number combinations. The gadget came up with a certain set of numbers twice, which made the mechanic decide to stick to the number combination through all those years of buying lottery tickets.
However, Duarte had another strategy aside from perennially using the same set of numbers. He bought lottery tickets in some of Vancouver Island’s remote villages and in out-of-the-way places. In fact, he bought his winning Lotto 6/49 ticket from an outlet in Aitken and Fraser Market in Shawnigan Lake, a village about 48 km north of Victoria and popular as a summer vacation destination for Victoria residents.
The Almeida’s are still undecided on what to do with their winnings but Duarte has plans of buying a bigger truck and of bringing his wife to his native country, Portugal. He is still into buying lottery tickets and has in fact, bought a couple while traveling from Victoria to the BCLC Vancouver Office to claim his prize. After which, husband and wife went back to Victoria by plane and left their old truck at the Vancouver BCLC parking lot.
In handing over the huge facsimile cheque to Duarte, Kevin Gass, the Vice President of Lottery Gaming for BCLC remarked, “it feels fantastic’ to hand over millions of dollars to winners. Mr. Gras also reminded ticket holders that a ticket sold in Langley in March 14 worth $50 million, is still waiting to be claimed. So far, the unclaimed prize is one of two largest jackpots ever awarded in the province of British Columbia.