The first Emirati to win the Emirates Loto has said he plans to share his Dh166,666 prize with his family.
Abdulla Ibrahim, 53, was one of six lucky winners of the Dh1 million prize announced on Wednesday.
The father of six shares the winnings with two residents from the Philippines, one from Pakistan, one from Ukraine and one from South Africa, after matching five out of six numbers in last weekend’s draw.
“I am thrilled to be the first Emirati to win in Emirates Loto - I have been playing every week since the first draw,” said Mr Ibrahim.
“I think Emirates Loto is a fantastic project especially at a time like this. People can stay at home and win while doing good and helping others simply by participating.”
Paul Sebestyen, chief executive of Emirates Loto said it was great to have the first UAE national winner last week.
“It is heart-warming to hear about winners’ plans to help loved ones, their communities and others in need who are close to them,” he said.
The remaining five winners included two residents from the Philippines, one from Pakistan, one from Ukraine and one from South Africa.
“I just feel so lucky! I’m still in disbelief. God must know of my good intentions and perhaps that is why I have been blessed,” said the second winner Maricar Balagtas, who won after taking part in the draw for the first time.
The 40-year-old call centre agent from the Philippines, said she watched the results live on TV and began to shake once she realised she had won.
“I had to check my entry about 10 times to make sure they truly matched, I just couldn’t believe it. I broke down in tears of happiness.”
Ms Balagtas said she will share her winnings with her family, who include a son, her parents and two siblings, whom she described as her “lucky charms”.
She said she will also donate some of the prize to people who have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to a church in her hometown.
The third winner was William Aniana - also from the Philippines.
A single father of two, Mr Aniana, 38, has worked in the UAE for the past 13 years.
“My initial reaction to winning was to shout very loudly and jump up and down while praying and thanking God for his blessing,” said the document controller.
“I plan to settle all of my liabilities and share some of my winnings with some close friends, as well as those who are in need back home.”
Mubashar Hassan, 34, from Pakistan, was the fourth winner.
“Winning felt like I was in a dream,” said the Abu Dhabi-born driving instructor.
“I couldn’t sleep for the whole night, and as the following day was Eid, I prayed to Allah to say thank you for everything.
“My family are my world and I will share all of my winnings with them, and help some people close to where I am from in Pakistan.”
With no jackpot winners to date, a Dh50 million prize is up for grabs for collectable buyers this coming weekend.
The next live draw will take place at 9pm on Saturday, and can be watched live on Emirates Loto's website, on its social media platforms and on asianetnews.com.