Lotto luck: Islanders won big in 2023, says BCLC

Lotto luck: Islanders won big in 2023, says BCLC
Photo: BCLC
Sidney's Scott Gurney won a jaw-dropping, historic $55-million Lotto Max jackpot.

People on Vancouver Island had a lot of lotto luck this year, with more than $112 million in total prizes paid to local players, according to the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

The BCLC says in 2023, a total of $112.3 million in prizes were paid to players on the Island, and 17.8 million winning tickets were redeemed, including 13 grand prize-winning tickets valued at $500,000 or more.

Sidney’s Scott Gurney was the Island’s biggest winner of the year. In April, it was announced he scored a jaw-dropping, historic $55-million Lotto Max jackpot.

“It’s life-altering. It just doesn’t seem real,” Gurney told CHEK News at the time, adding he purchased the ticket at the Save-On-Foods on Beacon Avenue.

Speaking with CHEK News, he said he planned to spend the money on friends and family, do some travelling and donate to charities like the BC Children’s Hospital.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island winner of $55M Lotto Max jackpot comes forward to claim historic prize

“We all dream. If I win the lottery, I’ll do this, and to be honest, you rethink that once it’s happened because it’s a possible reality,” said Gurney.

Lahsen Rezrazi and Debbie Ramsay from Victoria, meanwhile, were the Island’s other two Lotto Max jackpot winners. In June, they claimed a $35 million prize, splitting a $70 million jackpot with a winning ticket in Ontario.

Rezari called his wife, Ramsay, when he found out they had won.

“I thought something bad had happened!” recalled Ramsay in a news release from the BCLC. “It took everything in me not to scream.”

There were also two winning Lotto 6/49 jackpot tickets purchased and redeemed on the Island this year, including for Heather Andrews from Sidney, who won the $5 million Classic Jackpot with her sister Gwen Leeder from Ontario.

“Overwhelming, surreal and fantastic!” Leeder said in a November release, recalling how she felt when she found out they had won.

Stacey and Raymond Donison from B.C.’s capital are also $5 million richer thanks to the Classic Jackpot, with the former saying in late November they could now “leave a legacy” for their grandkids.

‘Surprise, delight, awe’

Across the province, the BCLC paid $859 million to lottery winners and sold more than 101 million winning tickets to players both at retail locations and on

“Surprise, delight, awe, joy, excitement — these are all words that our lottery winners have used to describe how they felt winning, so as 2023 comes to a close, we’re excited to look back and celebrate all of the life-changing dreams that became realities for our lottery winners,” said Pat Davis, BCLC president and CEO.

“Thanks to our players, BCLC is proud to generate revenue for provincial services and initiatives that we all rely on, like healthcare, education and community programs.”

The BCLC says that in 2022/23, it delivered a record $1.6 billion in net income to the Province of B.C., “which distributed it in many ways to benefit British Columbians.”

READ ALSO: Local couple claims $35-million Lotto Max Jackpot

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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