A lucky million: Group of airport employees wins $1M in Dubai lottery

Published November 11th, 2015 - 08:43 GMT

After religiously buying Dubai Duty Free raffle tickets for the last 14 years, Ibrahim Aboobacker finally struck gold.

The Indian expatriate who works as an airport technician, along with his eight other colleagues, has just won $1 million (Dh3.6 million) in Dubai Duty Free’s Millennium Millionaire draw. The lucky ticket, registered under the name of a co-worker, Lijo Cherian Varkey, 33, was picked during the draw on Tuesday.

A couple of weeks ago, Ibrahim, Varkey and their pals had chipped in some money to purchase the ticket, which costs Dh1,000 each, and agreed to split the prize if they get lucky.

“I contributed Dh200, while the rest of my eight co-workers spent Dh100 each. It was the only time I did not write my name on the coupon and this time I got lucky. I can’t wait to tell my whole family about this,” the excited Ibrahim told Gulf News.

Dubai Duty Free’s dollar millionaire promotion has attracted a growing number of average and low-income earners like Ibrahim and Varkey, who wish to change their lives with a raffle ticket. Given the cost of each coupon, most people end up pooling their money together to be able to buy one ticket.

The airport retailer, which raked in record-breaking sales of Dh6.999 billion for 2014, draws winners every two weeks, creating a total of 26 millionaires in one year.

Ibrahim, who makes Dh6,000 a month and is the sole breadwinner of a family of five, said his winning came at an opportune time since he’s been having difficulty repaying his Dh90,000 bank loan and Dh10,000 credit card debt.

“I’ve been working in Dubai for 16 years now and I could not save enough money and cover my family’s expenses, so I ended up borrowing money. With the prize, I think I’ll be able to clear all my debt and start investing in a house,” said Ibrahim.

For Ibrahim’s colleague, Varkey, the prize money will prove useful in his sister’s upcoming wedding. “I will also use part of the money in buying a house in India,” the expatriate who has a three-month-old baby, said.

“It’s been a very intense ride but winning one million dollar is one of the most emotional experiences we all had,” he added.

Dubai Duty Free also presented on Tuesday a $1 million cheque to the previous millionaire draw winner, Tom Kuriakose. Another raffle winner, Khalid Imzeran from the Netherlands who won a Ducati Monster 821 in Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Promotion, was also announced.

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