Lottery Player Suing Friends for Share of $1m Lotto Max Win

Can you imagine what it’d be like to have your dreams stolen? Well, that’s what Philip Tsotos from Ontario in Canada believes has happened to him.

The pizza delivery driver thought he was due a share of a $1 million Lotto Max prize won last October. However, he’s been told that a slice of the winnings is not going to be heading in his direction. He’s now suing them for $70,000 and other costs.

The $1m win was won last summer and was shared by 16 players. Mr Tsotos believes he should be the 17th and so far, he hasn’t received a cent. All the 16 winners now find themselves in a lawsuit.

Tsotos is obviously upset at what has happened and told CBC News: “Why wouldn’t they tell me they won? These guys are like family to me. Their dreams came true. Why should they steal mine?’

David Robins is the defence lawyer representing the 16 Lotto Max winners. He said that Mr Tsotos didn’t pay to play so isn’t due any winnings. In reply, the disgruntled player says he didn’t always make an immediate payment for the tickets purchased.

A credit system had been in place for six years before the win, he claims. The syndicate had ceased operating during the pandemic but began again in March 2021.

Tsotos admits that he owed $30 at the time of their Lotto Max win. In the past his debt had been $100 but he always paid up in the end.

He had been asked to pay what was owed and make a further payment of $10 to stay in the group. Another syndicate member also reminded him he needed to pay $10 to stay in the group and Tsotos had agreed to do so.

An offer to make the necessary payment had been made. He even joked: “Just take it out of our winnings when we win.” In reply, the organizer of the lottery syndicate said he’d charge a high interest rate if that was the case.

Then came the $1 million win but Tsotos wasn’t immediately told of the success. He claims that it was on social media that he found out about the Lotto Max win. That discovery was made while he was with the other winners, and he’d just bought them pizza. He was not amused to see a photo of one of his friends with the $1 million cheque.

One fact that could be in his favour is the disqualification process the syndicate used. Their opt-out system says that unless the fact was communicated to someone, they remained part of the syndicate. Tsotos says that was not the case with his participation in the syndicate so he was still a member and should receive his share of the winnings.

The $1 million Lotto Max has seen each of the 16 winners receive $62,500. If Mr Tsotos was to also receive a share, the amount the others get would only be reduced by $4,500.