NEWS

JoAnn Champagne, Gaetan Champagne $50M Lotto Win Being Reviewed

01/04/2012 01:55 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST
OLG
TORONTO - A couple from Hawkesbury, Ont., who hold the winning ticket for last weekend's $50-million Lotto Max draw will be waiting a little longer for the loot.

Lottery officials say JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne have been employed as lottery retailers in the past year, so their claim must go through a specific process.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. requires that any prize claims by so-called "insiders" — which includes retailers — must be thoroughly reviewed.

OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti says the couple identified themselves as retailers "right off the bat" and adds that the review is a routine process.

The prize claim will be reviewed by OLG and then through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the province's lotteries.

Bitonti says that should take about two weeks and after that the prize will be held for 30 days, allowing anyone with concerns to come forward.

That means the Champagnes will be waiting for at least 1 1/2 months before they can pop the cork on any celebrations.

"Because they are considered insiders (as retailers) .... they have to go through an extra level of scrutiny," Bitonti said Wednesday.

The OLG says the Champagnes had owned and operated Jo's Depanneur in Hawkesbury, about midway between Ottawa and Montreal, until October when they sold it.

JoAnn Champagne continued working part time at the convenience store for a while afterwards, Bitonti said.

He said the winning ticket for the Dec. 30 jackpot was purchased at a store in Hawkesbury called Pharmaprix and checked at a different store. It was later validated in the Ottawa area.

Under OLG policy, retailers cannot buy, check or redeem their own tickets at their place of work but are allowed to play at other retail locations.

Bitonti said the Champagnes were well aware of all the OLG rules and policies.