TORONTO, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - February 29 comes around only once every four years and this is one special leap year day that Gaetan and JoAnn Champagne of Hawkesbury will never forget. Today the President and CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) presented the couple with a $50 million cheque for winning the December 30, 2011 LOTTO MAX jackpot.
The prize claim was subject to OLG's Insider Wins process as both Gaetan and JoAnn had each been employed as lottery retailers within the past year.
"It is our pleasure to present this life-changing prize to the Champagnes. We thank them for their cooperation throughout the claims process and now wish them the very best as they celebrate this great win," said Rod Phillips, OLG's President and CEO, as he handed the $50,000,00.00 cheque to the couple at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto.
Gaetan, 51, and JoAnn, 49, are longtime residents of Hawkesbury. The couple has been playing the lottery for many years, and this was their first major win.
"We found out we won the jackpot while on our way to celebrate the New Year. Right away, we knew that we would be subject to a review as part of OLG's insider policy because we used to own a store," said Gaetan.
"We knew the rules and we followed them. We understood we would have to wait a little longer to get our cheque," added JoAnn. "We are so happy to win this money - it will go a long way in improving our lives and our community."
The Champagnes, who have two adult children, have already made plans for their windfall -they have purchased a new car, put a down payment on a new house and invested in their son's business. Now that they have the cheque, they plan to share the wealth with their local community.
"We definitely want to give back to our hometown which has supported us over the years and has celebrated with us at this exciting time. There are so many worthwhile causes in Hawkesbury - the food bank, the hospital - and we look forward to sharing our good fortune," said JoAnn.
The winning ticket was purchased at Pharmaprix on Aberdeen Street in Hawkesbury.
LOTTO MAX was created in September 2009. Since its launch, Ontario LOTTO MAX players have won more than $1.1 billion in prizes including 19 jackpots and 114 winning MAXMILLIONS tickets.
OLG is a provincial agency responsible for province-wide lottery games and gaming facilities. Since 1975, OLG lotteries, Casinos, Slots, and Resort Casinos have generated more than $34 billion for the benefit of the Province of Ontario. Gaming proceeds support Ontario's hospitals, amateur sport, recreational and cultural activities, communities, provincial priority programs such as health care and education, and local and provincial charities and non-profit organizations through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
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Image with caption: "President and CEO of OLG Rod Phillips, left, presents Hawkesbury couple, Gaetan and JoAnn Champagne, with a cheque for $50 million at the OLG Prize Centre Wednesday. The Champagnes won the LOTTO MAX jackpot prize after purchasing a ticket for the December 30, 2011 draw. (CNW Group/OLG Winners)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120229_C8428_PHOTO_EN_10597.jpg
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