Man ‘gutted’ by $93,000 lotto mistake
When Dean Smethurst checked his lottery card at a local supermarket, he was stunned when he was told he had won big.
The 32-year-old, from the UK, handed his National Lottery ticket to a Tesco supermarket worker on May 8 - and was informed by an employee he had won, but that she was not able to give him his winnings on the spot after an automatic message flashed on her screen.
Instead, he was told to contact lottery operator Camelot - a procedure for winners who scored cash prizes of more than £50,000 ($AU93,000), according to the company's website.
However, the company's phone line had already closed for the evening, so Mr Smethurst wasn't able to immediately confirm his win.
But that didn't stop him from spending the night celebrating by cracking open some champagne and informing friends and family of his good fortune.
But the next day, he received shocking news.
After calling the organisation, it turned out that the Tesco worker received the message that a cash payout was not possible because the lottery draw was underway at the same time Mr Smethurst was checking his ticket - and not because he has won a major prize.
In a devastating blow, the $93,000 he thought was coming his way ended up being just $11 after it was revealed he had only won three "lucky dips" worth just $3.73 each.
Mr Smethurst, a supermarket manager who has played the lottery for six years, told The Mirror he had already planned how he was going to spend his winnings the night before learning the harsh truth.
"I didn't sleep because I was so excited. My house is like a building site at the moment so that was the first thing that I decided to spend my winnings on," he told the publication.
"Then I decided to treat the family to a luxury holiday to Barbados."
He said he initially didn't believe his bad luck.
"I asked (the Camelot representative) if she was sure, and then I asked to speak to a manager. I am absolutely gutted," he said.
"I never thought to check my numbers, I didn't think a company as large as Camelot could have got it wrong, I didn't understand."
But a Camelot spokesman told Metro there were actually a variety of reasons why a cash prize couldn't be paid in a store, and that the message seen on the screen when Mr Smethurst checked his ticket did not automatically mean he had won big.
"In this instance, the player attempted to claim a prize during a 'draw break', when National Lottery sales are suspended while a draw takes place," he said.
"The prize couldn't be paid out at that time - because the ticket was still entered into a 'live' draw - so a validation slip was printed instead.
"To clarify, this generic slip is used for a number of scenarios - it's not exclusively used for high-tier prizes."
Mr Smethurst said he was distraught by the situation.
"I just watched television and my mum made me some comfort food, which wasn't much comfort," he said.