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QUÉBEC LOTTERY PLAYER MISSED OUT ON A LOTTO MAX JACKPOT BY SEVEN SECONDS, AND IS SUING OFFICIALS

A Québec man who missed out on his $13.5 million lottery fortune on the Lotto Max by seven seconds has launched a court case against lottery officials in an attempt to regain his cash.

Joel Ifergan bought a ticket for the Lotto Max game on May 23rd 2008, believing that his ticket was for the draw that very evening. The ticket turned out to have the winning numbers for that week, which should have earned Mr Ifergan $13.5 million, but because the ticket had come out of the terminal seven seconds after the cut-off time of 9pm, it was dated for the following week.

The lottery player says that he purchased the ticket in time for it to have been dated correctly, but that a delay in Loto-Québec’s computer system meant that the ticket was issued too slowly. The jackpot, which was that evening worth $27 million, was ultimately claimed by another lottery player in Canada, but Mr Ifergan says that he should have been entitled to half of the prize, which would have made him as rich as each of the Rona employees who shared a $55 million Lotto Max jackpot between them.

Not the first lawsuit to have been raised about lottery tickets in Canada, following from a British Columbia man who claimed that his Lotto 649 winning ticket was stolen from his desk, the lawsuit that Mr Ifergan hopes to raise against Loto-Québec alleges that once a lottery player purchases a Quick Pick ticket for a drawing, that same combination of numbers is then removed from the database of available numbers, meaning that other Quick Pick tickets cannot possibly have the same numbers. According to a Loto-Québec official, the purchased combinations are put back into the system three or four draws later, when the database is reshuffled.

Mr Ifergan claims that this means that millions of possible winning combinations could be unavailable in Quick Pick combinations, putting those who don’t choose their own numbers at a disadvantage for the draws. According to the motion that was filed, this is a system that is present only in Québec, and not in the rest of Canada where the Lotto Max is also played, and most recently paid out $1 million to a couple from Saskatchewan.

A pair of US lottery players last year attempted to sue the Powerball lottery over a $1 million they would have won if they hadn’t lost their lottery ticket, but Mr Ifergan likened the Québec system to “playing cars, but with a deck that isn’t complete,” and said that they hope to file the lawsuit on behalf of clients in Québec who have purchased quick pick tickets for the Lotto Max since 2005.