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Montrealer strikes it rich after playing lottery for first time ever

Shu PIng Li claims her $70 million jackpot at Loto-Québec offices in Montreal on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Loto-Québec

Beginner’s luck? Some might say so after a Montrealer, who purchased her first ever lottery tickets, walked away with a $70-million jackpot.

Shu Ping Li said the idea of buying a lottery ticket only came to her after she saw someone on the news in Ontario who had won a large jackpot a few months ago.

Then around August or September, Li said she saw that Lotto Max had a $70-million jackpot and thought to herself, “OK, I am going to buy it.”

“I even posted this news to my friends group and told all my friends to buy,” she said during a press conference at the Loto-Quebec head office in Montreal on Friday.

Li, however, never got around to buying one herself.

“I was too busy,” she recounted.

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But when the jackpot showed up again just before Thanksgiving, Li said she wasn’t going to miss her chance this time around.

It was the end of the week, after work and supper, that Li told her husband she was heading out to go to the local depanneur — something quite unusual for Li.

“We’ve lived here for 12 years and I went to the depanneur only two times,” she said of the local convenience store.

Her husband, Li says, wondered why she was going and balked when she said she was going to buy lottery tickets.

“No, I don’t like gambling,” he told her.

She responded she wasn’t gambling, that she just planned on buying 10 tickets.

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“It’s just a small piece of my salary,” she said. “It’s just a small fun.”

Li went on to say how with COVID-19 restrictions in place, going out to buy tickets was somewhat of a distraction.

“With COVID there’s nothing to do,” she said. “If I walk to the depanneur I can talk to the owner, I can chat and make some friends in the neighbourhood, so I think, ‘why not?'”

Read more: Quebecer wins a million in lottery for second time in nine years

Li said she checked her numbers the next morning but wasn’t quite sure she had won.

She headed back to the corner store, where the owner confirmed the winning ticket.

The draw took place on Oct. 9., but Li waited for the dust to settle before claiming her $70-million jackpot.

The amount is not only the largest possible prize one can win in Lotto Max, but also among all the lotteries offered by Loto-Québec and in Canada.

The corner store where she bought the ticket will also receive a $700,000 commission.

Read more: Montreal couple finds $1M lotto ticket in book, plans to celebrate with a ‘poutine, double sauce, double cheese’

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It’s only the second time in Loto-Québec history that a Quebecer takes home the grand prize.

In February, a family of eight from the Chaudières-Appalaches region also won $70 million.

To respect social-distancing guidelines, Li was handed her cheque by a friendly robot named SARA, designed and controlled by the Walking Machine student club of the École de technologie supérieure.

Li said she’s very excited about the prize money, but hasn’t decided what comes next, except maybe a small car.

“I know it will be a new life, but I don’t really have plans yet,” she said.

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