A jubilant Indian father of two said he won't give up the day job – despite scooping a Dh20 million jackpot.
Sreeju, who works as a control room operator in the oil and gas industry in Fujairah, could hardly believe his luck after winning the Mahzooz draw top prize at the 72nd time of asking on Saturday night.
But he has vowed that what is a life-altering win for many – after picking all five numbers in the lucrative raffle – will not change him.
Sreeju, who did not give his full name, has played the game twice a month for the past three years, and said his wife back in India was the first to hear of his Dh20 million ($5.45million) win.
“My wife did not believe me at first when I called to tell her the news,” said Sreeju, who has six-year-old twin daughters.
“I understood her reaction as I also did not believe that it was true when I read the email.
“I was in my car about to drive around when I checked my Mahzooz account and I couldn't believe my eyes.
“I was confused about what to do when I saw my winnings. I waited for that call from Mahzooz to confirm that my win was true.
“I want to help my family with this money, although I am still planning to do that. I will also give some to charity, of course.”
Bank loan ditched
Before winning the jackpot, Sreeju was in the midst of organising a bank loan to buy a family home in India, a process he is now happy to leave behind.
“It is a nice position to be in, to not have to go to a bank for this money any more,” he said.
“But I want to carry on working as I enjoy my job. It is a large amount of money, of course, but I don’t think it will change me.
“I never skipped a month playing this game because of the hope that I will win someday, it kept me going.
“I did not expect to be a winner this time, at least not the Dh20 million.”
Sreeju has called the UAE home for 11 years.
He was the 64th millionaire created as a result of the weekly prize draw that has paid out Dh494 million to more than 1.1 million winners to date.
Four other players scooped Dh2,000 each in the draw, after matching four winning numbers with those revealed by Mahzooz in the Saturday Millions game.
The winning numbers were announced by Aishwarya Ajit, who presents the live Mahzooz Saturday night show every week.
“We only get to find out in real time along with everyone else when the number appears on the screen,” she said.
“We have hundreds of thousands of winners every week, but it's not every week that we get a new multimillionaire.”
Ms Ajit said her personal highlight in three years of presenting the draw was announcing the winner of the Dh50 million prize in October 2021.
Junaid Rana, a 36-year-old Pakistani driver who grew up in Dubai, won Dh50 million ($13.6 million) after entering the Mahzooz weekly draw.
“It's very exciting to know that somebody's life has changed forever,” said Ms Ajit.
“Our job is to just do the announcing, but then we get so excited and caught up in the moment, it's almost like we are the ones who won.”