An Indian mechanical engineer who works for a steel company in Kuwait has gone from earning 177 Kuwaiti dinars ($574) a month to being a multimillionaire overnight, after scooping the Dh20 million ($5.4 million) Mahzooz jackpot.
Dalip, 48, a father of three, spent “less than 10 seconds” choosing what turned out to be the life-changing winning numbers of 12, 24, 31, 39 and 49 for the November 12 prize draw.
“The reason I chose them so quickly was to stay in the game and win the Dh100,000 raffle draw,” Dalip told The National.
“It is a very big amount for me and I am excited that I am the winner of Dh20 million … after participating for so long and never quitting. It was very big surprise and very meaningful.”
Over the past two years, Mahzooz, which means lucky or fortunate in Arabic, has created 30 millionaires and given away more than Dh330 million in prize money to about 205,000 winners from 122 countries.
Last October, Junaid Rana, a Dubai-based company driver, became the UAE's biggest prize draw winner when he won the Dh50 million Mahzooz jackpot.
Mr Rana, originally from Pakistan, went from earning Dh6,000 a month to having the financial freedom that millions of people around the world spend years seeking.
“I couldn't believe it at the time; it’s like dreams come true,” Mr Rana said during an interview for The National's Pocketful of Dirhams podcast.
“The thing is, I still cannot believe that I have won. I am in shock because the amount is huge. I cannot believe it, even now.”
Dalip, who moved to Kuwait in 2006, is currently on annual leave and plans to retire from his job in the New Year.
He will move back to India to be with his wife and children, aged 20, 23 and 25, and his ageing parents.
“With the aid of this money, my family and I will be able to pursue all of our aspirations,” Dalip said.
“I am planning to take my retirement because I am 48 years old, but even my family, they are saying, ‘No, no, no, just wait’. This is my viewpoint … I will take retirement and I will enjoy it.”
Other plans include buying a “state-of-the-art” home in India sometime in the future and travelling the world with his family.
Dalip is also considering moving to the UAE with his family and said he would take his time to carefully invest the money.
There are other draws in the UAE that offer large prizes, including Emirates Draw, which was launched in September last year. Participants have to match seven numbers to win the mega prize of Dh100 million, the largest on offer in the UAE.
However, nobody has yet claimed the top prize.
UAE jackpot winners — in pictures
In the past few months, both Emirates Draw and Mahzooz have introduced extra draws on Friday nights.
The Mahzooz draws are held on Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 9pm UAE time. Participants must register online and purchase a Dh35 bottle of water to enter.
“This was part of our latest promotion, which offered participants the chance to win Dh20 million, instead of the usual Dh10 million, and I am very happy that the promotion didn’t end before that top prize was claimed,” said Farid Samji, chief executive of Ewings, the operator of Mahzooz.
“Dalip is one among the thousands of winners who joined Mahzooz from other GCC countries, and who collectively won close to Dh30 million.”
Meanwhile, Dalip will spend the rest of his holiday in India with his family until he is due back at work on January 9.
“This amount of money means my family and my kids’ dreams are secure,” he said.
Ten ways to win cash prizes in the UAE
- Mahzooz draw (Previously Emirates Loto) — Dh10 million
- Emirates Draw — Dh100 million
- Big Ticket Abu Dhabi Duty Free draw — Dh15 million
- Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw — $1 million (Dh3.67 million)
- ADIB Ghina Savings draw — Dh3 million grand prize plus monthly prizes
- ADCB Millionaire Savings accounts — Dh1 million grand prize plus monthly prizes
- Kunooz Savings Account — grand prizes of Dh1 million and a Tesla
- FAB Al Awwal Savings Certificate — Dh1 million yearly grand prize and Dh200,000 every quarter, plus monthly prizes
- Mashreq Millionaire — Dh1 million grand prize plus monthly prizes
- National Bonds Reward Programme — two Dh1 million grand prizes every quarter plus monthly prizes