$30-million couple

Andrew Robinson
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Placentia pair claims largest Lotto Max prize ever awarded in Atlantic Canada

Gordon and Betty Collins of Placentia chat with reporters Thursday at Portobello’s Restaurant in St. John’s about their $30-million Lotto Max win.
 — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Betty and Gordon Collins purchased their Lotto Max ticket at the Lawtons Drugs store in Placentia as they normally would any given week — they spend $5 per week on average.

“I told the girl when I bought the ticket — Anita was her name — I said, ‘Anita, give me some good numbers, not the usual crap you give me,’” laughed Gordon. “And she took the ticket out of the machine — ‘Oh, these are quite good numbers,’ she said — and she passed them to me. And she was right.”

Almost two weeks after it was first announced that a winning ticket had been sold in Newfoundland and Labrador, the couple were formally unveiled as the winners of a massive $30 million jackpot.

The Atlantic Lottery Corp. presented them with a traditional oversized cheque Thursday afternoon in

St. John’s to seal the win. It represents the largest Lotto Max win ever in Atlantic Canada.

For Gordon, 69, its his second lottery win. In the early 1970s, he won $100.

“I go to sleep for an hour around 12 or 1 a.m., and then I go to sleep for another hour around 6 or 7 a.m. And in between, we toss and turn and get up and look out the window and wipe the sweat off.”

Gordon said he hopes they will soon take a trip. His only prerequisite — it has to be a place where there’ll be no need to shovel snow. He is considering going to Arizona to watch some spring training baseball games.

Betty, 65, plans to purchase a new car.

“I was going to buy a new Buick this year and I was just waiting and waiting, and now I don’t have to wait any more. I can buy what I want.”

The couple’s current Buick was actually in the garage on the day they learned their ticket was the winner.

“Betty came down to pick me up to go for supper,” said Gordon, who has been a pharmacist in the community for more than 40 years. “She was waiting in the parking lot for quite a while, until (a co-worker) went out to tell her that she should come in — I had something to tell her.”

He took the news in stride as best he could. After sharing the surprising news with Betty, Gordon went home for a quick bite to eat and then returned to work to finish his shift.

For the time being, the couple will travel to Ontario, where they will likely visit one of their two sons. The other lives in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gordon says the reaction of their son Michael Collins was succinct.

“Holy crap. Jesus Christ,” recalled Gordon with a laugh.

Asked if he is worried the couple will be treated differently by others in light of their newfound wealth, Gordon seemed uncertain.

“I don’t know what the new normal is going to be,” he said. “The old normal don’t apply anymore. The new normal — I don’t know. We’ll just have to deal with it as best we can.”

Betty said she has felt nervous at times wondering what will happen as a result of their lottery win.

“It’s just that sometimes you get very nervous. What’s going to happen? And then you start crying ... It’s a happy cry, really. Overwhelming.”

Since the Atlantic Lottery Corp. first announced through its website on Jan. 26 that a $30-million ticket had been sold, rumours ran rampant about who the winners might be. One such rumour suggested it was a group of electricians working in Long Harbour who had the winning ticket.

“I phoned Peggy,” said Gordon, “and I said, ‘Peggy, I don’t know who I am. Am I an electrician from Long Harbour? Am I 11 offshore Hibernia workers? Who am I?’”

Despite their newfound wealth, the couple has no intentions of moving away from Placentia.

“We have a lovely home,” said Betty. “I enjoy my home, so I wouldn’t mind staying there.”



Twitter: @TeleAndrew


Organizations: Atlantic Lottery, Buick

Geographic location: Placentia, Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Arizona Long Harbour Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Fred& anna tobin
    March 09, 2013 - 17:17

    Congrats on you big win, enjoy to the fullest. Fred& Anna

  • Annie-Girl
    February 08, 2013 - 13:41

    Hey, Gordon and Betty. I think I'm your long lost cousin. :) Seriously tho', congratulations. Don't spend it all in one place and remember the charities.

  • Marilyn
    February 08, 2013 - 09:08

    I think it's marvellous that these people won the thirty million. I loved listening to him talk, a hard working decent man came out as he spoke. I think he said they will make a lot of people happy and isn't that what life should be all about. Congratulations Gordon and Betty Collins! Enjoy your new found wealth and the pleasure it will bring as you help those you chose.

  • Dees
    February 08, 2013 - 08:41

    I don,t know this couple,but I,m so happy for them,it's nice just to see a jack pot like this to be won in our province,enjoy it with your family. :) you don,t owe anyone,anything.

  • david
    February 08, 2013 - 08:40

    Great job, Telegram....Atlantic Lotto appreciates your complicit celebratization of lottery wiiners, as well as your complete indifference to the much more important issue: the state-sponsored, economic scourge and the death-by-a-thousand-tickets that lotteries actually are. Regards.

    • JP
      February 09, 2013 - 03:11

      Hey David, there's an old saying that goes like this...Opinions are like rear-ends, everyone has one! I'm not sure how you could take from this article that The Telegram and it's reporters are showing a complete indifference to anything. The story serves one simple purpose, to announce to the public who the winners of the major jackpot were and to put to rest the rumours that were rampant about who may have won. For the record, congrats to the Collins' family!

  • Giver
    February 08, 2013 - 08:08

    They now have enough money to cover any oil spills on our off shore. Just like a oil company!