Editorial: Lady luck is more fickle than we’d like to think

There must be something in the water.

On Monday, Langley said hello to its latest pair of newly minted multi-millionaires.

News that they’d won a cool $7 million in the March 11 6/49 draw could not have come at a better time for Richard Bourgeois and Michelle Wishard, both in their 40s and seasonal employees of West Coast Amusements.

The couple has been living in a travel trailer for the past six years and Michelle told the Times she’d recently been laid off from her job.

The first thing they plan to do is to take care of their families, which is nice to hear. We hope they do the same for themselves.

If it feels to you like Langley has seen more than its fair share of winners, you’re not alone.

We thought so, too, and a quick scan of our archives would seem to bear that out.

Just a sampling: In 2012 four coworkers from Langley and Abbotsford shared a $30 million LottoMax prize.

In 2014 a local man claimed $9.2 million in the 6/49, and at least two $1 million prizes have found their way into Langley pockets during the past few years as well.

Most famously, of course, there was the couple who purchased a $50 million winning Lotto Max ticket at their local drug store in March 2014.

They tried for nearly two years — ultimately in vain — to keep their identity a secret. It’s hard to blame them, because that’s the type of windfall that brings vultures out of the woodwork.

If we have any (unsolicited) advice for this week’s or future winners, it is to seek counsel from a lawyer or accountant (or both) and to have a plan in place before going public, because there will be no shortage of people ready to help separate you from your winnings.

Despite the apparent proliferation of local winners, we feel the need to point out that these lucky few do not represent the norm — far from it. In fact, Moneysense.ca puts the odds of winning the 6/49 at one in 14 million. They’re even longer for LottoMax, at one in 28.6 million.

Still, a poll conducted in 2014, indicated that a full one third of Canadians (34 per cent) were counting on winning some sort of jackpot to see them through their golden years.

One hopes that at least a few of them were joking, but it speaks to the level of financial pressure people are feeling.

There’s nothing wrong with buying the occasional ticket or plugging a slot machine once in a while. The dream, while it lasts, can be fun.

But to treat gambling as though it’s a legitimate retirement plan — counting on the idea that at some point you’re numbers are bound to come up —  is pure folly.

Lady luck is far too fickle for that.

Langley Times

Just Posted

Most Read