Abu Dhabi resident Arlene has become the second woman in the UAE to win the Dh10 million ($2.7 million) Mahzooz jackpot after scooping the prize at the weekend.
However, Arlene almost didn't enter the February 25 draw as she had only Dh17 in her bank account.
“My husband went out and deposited an additional Dh20 into my account so that I could purchase the bottle of water for Dh35,” said Arlene, 40, who has lived in the UAE for 12 years and is from the Philippines.
“Even when my husband selected the numbers, as he always does, I was only hoping to win the Dh100,000, but I was shocked when I saw the email stating I won [the] Dh10 million grand prize. I counted the zeros so many times.”
Arlene, a freelance sales promoter, and her husband, a merchandiser, have now gone from earning a combined monthly salary of Dh7,000 to being overnight multimillionaires.
Their winning numbers were based on important anniversary dates of their families, she said. The numbers were 9, 10, 13, 28 and 29.
Over the past two years, Mahzooz, which means lucky or fortunate in Arabic, has created 32 millionaires and given away more than Dh376 million in prize money to about 215,000 winners from 122 countries.
In December, Dubai resident Inger became Mahzooz’s first female multimillionaire after winning the Dh10 million jackpot.
Junaid Rana, a Dubai-based company driver, remains the UAE's biggest prize draw winner after winning the Dh50 million Mahzooz jackpot in October 2021.
Mr Rana, 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 at the time.
Arlene and her husband plan to use the Dh10 million windfall, which she described as a welcome gift from God, to buy land and build a home in the Philippines.
They will continue to support their families as they are the main breadwinners and donate some of their winnings to charity.
UAE lottery winners — in pictures
They also plan to continue working despite their win.
“I want to continue [working] and then I want maybe a golden visa and bring my family here,” Arlene said.
“This is a big change. I remember my childhood in the Philippines, even food I cannot afford to buy.”
There are other draws in the UAE that offer large prizes, including Emirates Draw, which was launched in September 2021. 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.
Top 10 ways to win cash prizes in the UAE
- Mahzooz draw — 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