The chances of carting off tonight's record-setting $40 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot are about one in 13.98 million, but for thousands of hopefuls in Ottawa and across the country, all that matters is that the ticket in their hands could be that one.
With the biggest jackpot in Canadian history at stake, kiosks and stores buzzed with excited customers and staff last night, with all of them entertaining visions of torched mortgages, zero-balance credit card bills, cruise tickets, luxury cars, and family and friends clutching fistfuls of bills.
"Somebody wins -- it's just the hope and the dream," said Laurie Tuppins, who was having a busy first night on the job as a clerk at the lottery kiosk in Carlingwood Shopping Centre.
"I don't know who, but somebody at this booth is going to win," she called out to the half-dozen customers lined up in front of her counter, who replied with a chorus of "Me, me!"
"It's fun to imagine how you could help your family out, and how you could help yourself --as long as you only play what you can afford," Ms. Tuppins said, as another eager player plunked down a toonie.
"This is the winning one right here," said Lisa Armstrong, grinning and waving a ticket as she walked away from the counter. Ms. Armstrong, who characterizes herself as "a little bit obsessive about contests," usually pools with 10 others at the doctor's office where she works, and they are fresh off a $1,000 win and hungry for more. But with $40 million at stake, she opted to strengthen her odds this time.