Ukrainian refugee wins €500,000 in Belgium Lottery

Jun 12, 2023, 1:48 pm (1 comment)


Winner who fled war-torn home country finds a bit of luck elsewhere

By Kate Northrop

A Ukrainian refugee won €500,000 (US$537,783) from a scratch-off ticket, the Belgium National Lottery announced on Monday.

An anonymous refugee who fled war-torn Ukraine found a bit of luck in Belgium, where he won €500,000 from a scratch-off lottery ticket.

On May 16, the nameless winner, who withheld his identity from the public as is allowed by Belgium Lottery gaming policy, has been living in Brussels for about a year since fleeing his home country.

Deciding to try his luck, he bought a €5 ticket from the "CA$H" family of scratch-off games at a gas station. The unsuspecting winner was left baffled when one of his numbers was revealed to be a winning number, appearing to beget a hefty sum of money worth €500,000.

According to Lottery spokesperson Joke Vermoere, the man's friends helped him figure out what to do next in what was a confusing, yet thrilling, situation. Eventually, with his friends' help, the winner found himself at Belgium Lottery headquarters in Brussels ready to make the claim.

"[The winner's] feelings were very mixed," Vermoere recalled. "His mind was clearly in Ukraine, and, in this period, it is difficult to rejoice with all that is happening in his country."

At the same time, he was "very happy" with his win and "full of hope" above everything else.

"We see a lot of winners [pass through] here, but in this case, we really saw that this [win] meant something more to him" Vermoere continued. "Like it's a sign of hope in a dark period."

The winner, who is between the age of 18 and 24, said he received a very warm welcome in Belgium, but he'd love more than anything to return to Ukraine as soon as the war is over. He'll use his prize money to "do something for his compatriots" and to help rebuild his native country, which has been devastated by the Russian invasion.

Before he is able to return, he wants to first throw a party for the friends and family in Belgium who cared for him and helped integrate him into Belgian society.

"He is very grateful to these people, [which consist of] both Belgians and Ukrainians who have been living here longer," Vermoere explained on behalf of the winner.

The requirements for claiming a prize of over €100,000 (US$107,462) in Belgium are that winners must possess and present a valid proof of identity, own their own bank account, and produce the physical winning ticket, all of which the Ukrainian winner fulfilled.

As lottery prizes in Belgium are not taxed, he will take home the full prize of €500,000.

Lottery Post Staff



What a blessing!!!

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