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Lotto Max jackpot longest winner drought, second largest prize pool

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The Lotto Max jackpot has now gone the longest period in history without being won, pushing prizing for the next draw to a near record, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) says.

There have now been 20 Lotto Max draws without a jackpot winner, with the last winning ticket sold for the Aug. 12 draw in western Canada. That is the longest drought since Lotto Max was launched in 2009, the OLG said.

OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told CTV News ticket sales have been robust over the last few weeks and retailers typically see a rush to buy tickets on the evening of the draw. With the jackpot still at $70 million, they’re expecting the same Friday.

According to corporation this sum is the second biggest offered in OLG history. The biggest prize ever offered – $140M – was part of a June 2021 draw.The Lotto Max draw Oct. 21 will have $133 million in top prizing, with an estimated 63 additional, $1-million prizes. If prize goes unclaimed once again, Bitonti said he anticipates that record could be matched next Tuesday.

Roman Bruzas, owner-operator of R & B Lottery Shop has been a lottery retailer for more than 20 years. He tells CTV News the lineups have been long during the after-work hours.

He said ticket sales always go up when jackpots are high and he has sold a few winners over the years.R & B Lottery Shop selling Lotto Max tickets in advance of the Oct. 21/22 draw. (Mike McDonald/CTV News Northern Ontario)“At the old place I sold a few other ones (winners). A million dollar scratch ticket,” Bruzas added. 

According to the OLG, Lotto Max players in Ontario have won just over $7.2 billion since the draw began.

Draws take place on Tuesdays and Fridays and tickets cost $5.

Many winning tickets go unclaimed.

Bitonti said this is the reason people should check their tickets right after the draw.

“It actually did happen to a customer from Sault Ste. Marie who claimed his ticket on the very last day before expiring. That ticket was worth $500,000,” said Bitonti.

He said tickets are most likely to be forgotten during changes in season - for example, left in a pocket for the winter, only to be discovered when warmer weather returns.

Bitonti added most lottery tickets are valid for at least a year.

Sixty-two $1-million prizes were drawn on Tuesday night, and 17 winners were announced for a total of $16 million in Maxmillion prizes across Canada.

"I live in a world of odds and chance and randomness, so nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to these draws,” added Bitonti.

The winning numbers for the next draw will be announced Friday night.

Article updated by first hand reporting by CTV's Mike McDonald.

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