A lucky cat named Milo and the shirt number of football star Cristiano Ronaldo played a part in the latest winners of the Mahzooz draw becoming millionaires.
Two Indian men scooped jackpots of Dh20 million and Dh1 million respectively – with the winner of the grand prize becoming only the second of 2023.
Despite their good fortune, both men said they had no immediate plans to give up work.
Dh20 million winner Sachin, 47, a technician from Mumbai, has been in Dubai for 25 years, and has played the Mahzooz draw every week since its inception.
Sachin picked up a new kitten on the morning of his lucky win as company for his older cat, Cookie, while his children were staying with relatives in India for the summer.
After picking his lucky numbers and going to bed, he was not aware of his win until the next morning when he checked his emails. He then called his parents and children to pass on the exiting news.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I didn’t think it was real at first, it was only when I checked my Mahzooz account I realised I had won.
“The kitten was certainly lucky for me, and we have been giving it special treats since.
“The children’s education is a priority so this money will go to support that.”
Before his huge win in the 139th Mahzooz weekly draw, his biggest cash prize was Dh35.
“When my children come back from India after the summer, I’m sure they will have a lengthy wish list with them,” said Sachin, a father of three, whose surname was not disclosed by organisers for security reasons.
“It is too early to decide on giving up my work, there are no plans to retire yet.
“I am still digesting winning this big amount and there are lots of decisions to make, but we will have a mega party.”
Sachin said he would continue to enter the lucky draws and told others not to give up on their dreams.
“If you keep playing, there is always a chance you will win one day,” he said.
Since Mahzooz was launched, Dh164 million has been awarded to 105,000 winners from India.
In that time, the draw has created 20 millionaires from India, and 55 in total.
Gowtham, the latest Indian citizen to win the Dh1 million weekly raffle, had been playing the draw since February when he won the prize in Saturday night’s lucky numbers.
He picked the lucky number seven in homage to his favourite footballer – Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. It was the only regular number he used in his weekly numbers, he said.
“I haven’t told my family yet, and I want to build them a new home,” said Gowtham, 27, a project engineer, whose surname was also not disclosed.
“It will be a nice phone call to have with them. I’ll be having a big party with my friends to celebrate, it is a huge amount of money.
“It will no doubt change my life but I want to continue working, I enjoy it.
“I told my manager at work and he said to keep playing the draw because I was clearly very lucky.
“I used seven as it was my lucky number, CR7 is special to me – I would like to go and watch Cristiano Ronaldo play in Saudi Arabia one day, it is a dream of mine.”
Advice on life-changing wins
Mahzooz updated its prize structure in March to guarantee one player each week would win Dh1 million ($272,000), while doubling the value of its top prize to Dh20 million.
Each week, winners are announced – holding a giant cheque – but to protect their privacy few details of individuals are released by Mahzooz.
“There is no history of security issues with our previous winners, but we like to keep their details private as some winners do not want to reveal their full names for potential issues back home,” said Suzan Kazzi, managing operator of Mahzooz.
“We proactively advise them on this as a preventive measure.
“Although we do not give professional advice, we tell the winners to take their time and get some proper financial advice to help them manage their money.
“It is not our business what they do with their money, but we advise them not to rush into any decisions they may later regret.
“It is a life-changing amount, and many people go on to build successful businesses as a result of their wins.”