From Dh15 to Dh15m: Indian resident of Dubai becomes lottery millionaire overnight

Ajay Ogula's first try at the Emirates Draw resulted in him bagging the jackpot

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The decision to buy a Dh15 lottery ticket made Ajay Ogula a millionaire.

The Indian resident is experiencing his very own Christmas miracle as the first person to win the Emirates Draw mega-millionaire jackpot.

Revealed as the lucky winner on Friday, Mr Ogula still seemed in shock at his good fortune.

When he received the email notification, he thought he had won a much smaller prize until he grasped what had happened. “I just stood there standing. I had no words,” Mr Ogula, 31, told The National.

“Was this real? But the following day Emirates Draw rang me to confirm and I realised what happened. I was in shock and feeling so nervous. Dh15 million? What will I do with so much?”

From humble beginnings to great fortune

Mr Ogula left his native Hyderabad 10 years ago in a search of a better life. His father had passed away and he needed to support his mother and two siblings.

“We were very poor,” he said of his life in India. “We didn’t have a house and were struggling very much.”

He worked his way through the Gulf before arriving in the UAE in 2019 and landed in Dubai as a driver for a jewellery company. He sent money back every month to support his family, working long shifts to make it possible.

But what transpired over the past few weeks has hardly seemed real and his mother, brother and sister back in India are also in shock. It was the first time he entered the lottery and simply picked random numbers for the December 16 draw.

“They didn’t believe the news,” he said. “I am telling them daily this is real.”

Mr Ogula first plans to bring his family to the UAE for a holiday after he arranges passports and flights.

“I also want to buy a house for my mother and sister. They will come here and we will discuss what to do.”

Sharing success with others

He is also taking a small break from his job but has no other plans for now bar helping others. His generosity runs deep and he has previously helped less-fortunate people in his village and now plans to do even more to help those who need it most.

I am going to help people, he said.

People have another opportunity to emulate his good fortune in the Dh15 million draw tonight when Mr Ogula will press the button to select the numbers.

Emirates Draw holds two events every week. A simple draw is held every Friday at 9pm with the Dh15 million grand prize on offer. Every Sunday, meanwhile, is the main event and participants can win prizes from Dh10,000 to Dh77,000. There is also a major jackpot of Dh100 million, which has been increased to Dh160 million just for December 25.

Winners have an option to take their prize money in instalments or a lump sum.

"Emirates Draw is not just about numbers and winners ― it is about making a difference in people’s lives and has been the goal from day one and will remain at the heart of all we do," said Mohammad Alawadhi, managing partner at Emirates Draw.

"Our entire team is ecstatic for Ajay Ogula, and we are confident that this win will positively change his life and all the people around him."

People can take part in the draws by buying a Dh50 pencil that will support the planting of corals. After registering online, participants can select their seven-digit number or have the system choose a number randomly.

The games are streamed across Emirates Draw’s digital platforms, YouTube, Facebook, and website.

Updated: December 23, 2022, 1:18 PM