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Grey Cup 50/50 prize winner almost threw out ticket

Charles Richot holds the prize in his hands in this picture on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers website. Winnipeg Blue Bombers website

WINNIPEG — The winner of the 50/50 jackpot from the 103rd Grey Cup game, almost lost $178,748.

The largest 50/50 jackpot in Winnipeg Blue Bombers history was unclaimed for more than a week. But on Tuesday afternoon, Charles Ritchot from La Salle, Manitoba came forward with the winning number W-551531.

READ MORE: 103rd Grey Cup 50/50 ticket remains unclaimed

Richot called into Global Morning News Wednesday and explained his “close call” story.

“I checked the ticket at the Grey Cup game and saw I had the winning number – or so I thought,” Ritchot said.

Ritchot said he went home to tell his wife the good news, but she was in bed so he decided to surprise her in the morning. However, when he checked the Blue Bombers website Monday morning there was a typo on the screen.

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“They had -351 as the last three numbers, instead of -531,” he said. “So I thought, oh darn I was wrong, and chucked the ticket out. ”

A few minutes later, Ritchot decided he was going to keep the ticket, because he had never got that close to winning a huge jackpot.

Days went by and the winnings went unclaimed. Ritchot said he checked online again on Wednesday night but his number still didn’t match. But he had an unnerving feel, so on Dec. 3 he called the Bombers office yet again.

“They gave me the same wrong number,” he said.

On Monday Dec. 7, the ticket remained unclaimed. The Bombers sent out a press release asking people to double check their numbers. Ritchot checked one more time and all of a sudden they matched.

He phoned the Bomber office and said they admitted there had been an error when posting it online.

“That’s kind of the scary part,” he said. “I’m not blaming anyone, things happen in a rush, a typing error… but unfortunately it could have cost someone $180,000, which in this case, could have been me!”

Global News contacted the football club about the error and they refused to do an interview but issued an email statement admitting the wrongdoing.

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“When the winning number was posted on our website that evening after the Grey Cup game was completed, two digits were accidentally transposed,” said a Bomber spokesperson via email.

However, the club is disputing the timeline of events.

“This mistake on the website was corrected the next morning when it was identified,” said the spokesperson.

The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba tells Global News it has never seen an incident like this occur.

“The LGA is concerned by this situation and is conducting an investigation,” said a LGA spokesperson. “We expect to work cooperatively with the Winnipeg Football Club during the course of our investigation, however, we won’t comment further at this time to avoid compromising the integrity of the investigation.”

Ritchot has been off work because of heart surgery and said the money will help build a bit of a nest egg for the family’s retirement.

He said he and his wife will also be able to finish off their home renovations and spend a little bit extra on their four kids and three grandchildren this Christmas holiday.

 

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