Why you should always buy your own lottery ticket

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Remember the 2008 rom-com, What Happens in Vegas with Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz? Basically, Ashton wins big on a slot machine in Vegas with Cameron’s quarter and she sees an opportunity to claim half the cash-out because the pair drunkenly got married the night before. A judge suspends the funds and won’t let the couple see any of the money or get divorced until they give their Las Vegas marriage a real shot. Spoiler alert: The two fall in love and share their winnings, end of story (awe!). 

The story of an Ontario couple is strikingly similar to that, but the ending might not be as happy. 

Maurice Thibeault and common-law partner Denise Robertson often played the lottery during the two years they lived together. They would alternate buying tickets week to week with the intention of sharing any winnings. Thibeault was the last one to buy a ticket before he abruptly ended things and moved out. Turns out that ticket was the winner of half the OLG September 22 jackpot of $12.2 million. 

When Robertson asked if the ticket had won, Thibeault reportedly told her it hadn’t and attempted to claim the prize himself. Robertson quickly hired a lawyer and filed an emergency court injunction to suspend the cash (which was technically unnecessary because the Crown Gaming Agency puts winnings on hold if there is any dispute over ownership). 

Thibeault’s friends say he was planning on leaving Robertson anyway and the couple didn’t have an arrangement around sharing lottery winnings. Robertson’s friends maintain that she is entitled to half the winnings. 

Yikes.

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