Joel Ifergan got this important deadline wrong and missed out on millions in his Canadian lottery game. Photo: CTV News
Buyer beware! It took only 7 seconds for Montreal lottery player Joel Ifergan to lose the $27 million jackpot on his ticket.
He had the correct numbers in the old Loto-Quebec Super 7* jackpot, and his ticket was correct in every detail.
He bought it too late. In fact, 7 seconds too late.
When Joel Ifergan (photo, right) approached the store owner back in 2008, he asked how much longer he had for the cut-off time for the week's game.
The owner told him that there was about one minute to go. Based on that, Joel bought three tickets.
His winning combination was on the last ticket that popped out... 7 seconds after the 9pm deadline.
And unfortunately he lost.
He took the matter to court, but the lottery organisation has refused to settle the case and he has lost.
Ifergan, an accountant by trade, has always maintained that he should have won the May 23 draw because his request for the tickets was entered into the system at 8:59.47.
Ifergan shows copies of his tickets with the winning numbers highlighted. Photo: CTV News
Each ticket then took ten seconds to process, meaning the second ticket was printed seven seconds after deadline.
"The ticket requests are entered simultaneously, but not processed simultaneously," Ifergan explained. "Loto-Québec doesn’t tell you that in their publicity."
Every court, including the country’s top one, has rejected that argument.
Every other lottery board in Canada has a 'draw-break' where they shut down the system briefly at 9pm to prevent such issues, he added.
The covenience store in Quebec where Joel Ifergan bought his tickets. Photo: CTV News
Convenience store owner Mehernosh Iranpur. Photo: CTV News
There is no further recourse for Ifergan, who had seen his claim rejected by Quebec Superior Court in November 2012 and the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2014.
Mr Ifergan has lost his court bid to appeal over a decision denying him half of the $27 million dollar prize. The Supreme Court of Canada refused today (Thursday 29 January 2015) to accept Joel Ifergan’s appeal.
Mr Ifergan blamed the delay on Loto-Quebec’s central computer system and sued the province’s lottery regulator for half of the jackpot because there was another a winning ticket.
Ifergan said the court case has cost him more than $100,000.
Joel Ifergan talks about his experience to CTV News. Click to view
A very expensive few seconds it seems. Still, the experience hasn't stopped him from buying lottery tickets — as he said, you never know when you'll get lucky.
Our advice from this story?
Buy your tickets well before the deadline.
Most lottery organizations have the cut-off or deadline time for buying tickets on their "How To Play" or FAQ website pages.
But few lottery sites will say what happens to your tickets after that time. The Maryland Lottery FAQ does state this for its Mega Millions game, but it is deliberately vague:
My concern is the "approximately" in the statement. It offers too much flexibility for the organization to refuse your winning ticket on that draw.
So the moral is to get your tickets processed well BEFORE time.
*The Super 7 Lotto was replaced in 2009 by Canada's Lotto Max.