Top 6 BCLC Lotto Winners of 2019

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has been offering gambling entertainment for 34 years. When it says that 2019 was a record-breaking year for distributing lottery winnings, that is quite a feat.

As BCLC and lottery operators around Canada prepare for 2020 and the new $70 million Lotto Max capability – which already hit in the first week of the year – it looks like this new record may be broken in this new year.

BCLC Record

In the year of 2019, BCLC awarded $785 million in winnings, the largest amount for a year to date. That money was paid out in increments more than 86 million times in British Columbia in 2019 alone.

Another record was the highest single lotto payout in its history, which happened in July when a Richmond man won $60 million in a Lotto Max draw. Further, BCLC awarded four consecutive $1 million Lotto 6/49 prizes in November for only the second time in its history.

BCLC Vice-President of Lottery Gaming noted, “Playing the lottery is about the chance to have life-changing dreams come true, and this year’s record-breaking amount of winnings delivered bigger dreams than ever before for our players.”

The BC population at large benefited from the lottery, too, as BCLC distributed more than $1 billion back to programs involving health care, education, and community groups.

Six Biggest 2019 BCLC Winners

  1. Joseph Katalinic of Richmond = $60M

On July 26, 2019, Mr. Katalinic, a retired commercial fisherman, purchased a Lotto Max Quick Pick ticket at Seafair Centre. After the drawing, he returned to that location to scan the ticket. Perhaps he won a few dollars with a few matching numbers, which would have been fun.

Instead, he saw that he won the largest Lotto Max jackpot in the history of the game. Katalinic won $20M. He took the ticket to two other locations to scan it again to make sure he was really the winner.

When he realized that it was true, he told his daughters and they spread the word. “There was a lot of hugging and kissing and a lot of emotions,” he said.

After 20 years of retirement, Katalinic said the lottery win prompted him to make immediate plans to take his family to Hawaii and to Europe. From there, he planned to “live like a king.”

  1. Michelle De Roma of Surrey = $39.5M

Ms. De Roma’s winning numbers were actually drawn on December 28, 2018. She was heading out to do some shopping and scanned it at Tsawwassen Mills. The machine told her she won more than $39 million.

She said her husband didn’t believe her at first, so they checked it again. He and their three children celebrated before claiming the prize and decided they wanted to buy a new house and travel. Mostly, she wants to provide a solid future for her kids.

  1. Rowena Inyallie and George Munro of Merritt = $29.5M

Mr. Munro stopped at the Courtesy Corner Market for some cranberry juice and a chocolate bar when he picked up his Lotto Max ticket in February 2019.

The matching of all seven numbers was perfect timing for Munro and his wife, Ms. Inyallie. They bought a new truck and ordered a Ford Mustang Shelby. The duo had plans to fix up the house, buy jerseys for a baseball team Munro coached, and retire.

  1. Kenneth and Susan Salter of Telkwa = $20M

The Salters didn’t regularly play the Tuesday Lotto Max, which had just been implemented as a second weekly drawing earlier in 2019. But the choice paid off. When Mr. Salter discovered the win, he called his wife. She thought he was joking. He wasn’t.

The $20 million won’t change their life, they said, but they will build their dream home on their existing property and plan a European river cruise.

  1. Vivienne Mills of Tumbler Ridge = $10.1M

Ms. Mills bought her Lotto 6/49 ticket online on PlayNow. The draw happened on April 3, and she received an email from the site notifying her of a win. “I was expecting to see a free ticket,” she said, “maybe a dollar.” But she saw the zeros and asked her husband to verify what she was seeing.

When the shock wore off, her focus with the money immediately went to her two children and four grandchildren, wanting to set up accounts for their education and eventual homes.

  1. Madelaine and Harold Thomas of Port Alberni = $5M

The Thomases hit their jackpot in early February, causing the lottery ticket machine to freeze and light up to alert them of the $5M prize.

Mr. Thomas immediately asked his wife if she wanted a new house, but she turned him down. They wanted to help their children and grandchildren financially, get new cars, and do a few updates on their current home. A Mexican sun-filled vacation was on the schedule, too.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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