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What did UAE lottery ticket winners do with their millions?

UAE produces overnight millionaires just about every month - thanks to lottery draws

By Evangeline Elsa, Community Solutions Editor
11:14 October 10, 2018
RDS_181009 Millionaire John Varughese

Dubai: A lucky lottery ticket made Dubai expat John Varughese, an overnight millionaire. The money he won did more than just make him rich. It reduced his high blood pressure.

A resident of Pathanamthitta district in the Indian state of Kerala, Varughese told Gulf News: “I went to Kerala after winning the lottery. Before winning my blood pressure used to be very high, I was on daily medication.

Name of imageFinancial freedom has really given me peace of mind, said John Varughese. Gulf News

"It was surprising that, during my stay in India, I did not have to take any medicines to regulate my health condition. I was perfectly fine and I felt healthy after a very long time.

"Financial freedom has really given me peace of mind. I am not constantly worried about my children’s education and my family’s well-being now.”

Overnight millionaires

The UAE produces overnight millionaires just about every month — thanks to lottery draws.

In March 2018, Varughese who has been working as a driver in Dubai for more than 11 years, along with seven of his friends had pooled in money to buy a winning raffle ticket for Dh12 million from Abu Dhabi Big Ticket.

 One of our priorities as parents is to ensure a secure financial future for children. An FD is a secure investment method in that regard.”

 - Pinto Paul Thommana | Lottery winner in Dubai  


He said: “The money came to each one of us as a blessing when we were financially struggling. Everyone in our group using the money wisely.”

Gulf News spoke to a few other UAE lottery draw winners to find out what they did with their newfound treasure?

Fixed deposits (FD) are the top choice

John Varughese said: “I have put a major chunk of the money I received in a Fixed Deposit.”

September’s Dh12 million Big Ticket Abu Dhabi raffle winner, George Mathew has similar plans.

Name of imageGeorge Mathew. Gulf News

An employee of Gulf News, Mathew, said: “We recently received the cheque and deposited it on October 9. It will be encashed soon and our plan is to put most of it in a bank as Fixed Deposit.

UAE expats Pinto Paul Thommana and his friend, Francis Sebastian, from Kerala won the $1 million jackpot at the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Draw in April this year.

Thommana, 36, said: “One of our priorities as parents is to ensure a secure financial future for children. An FD is a secure investment method in that regard.”

A fixed deposit (FD) is a financial investment method provided by banks in which an investor deposits a considerably large sum of money as bank deposit for a specified duration.

The investment method is popular since it provides investors a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account.

Charity

Thommana who is a partner at a Sharjah-based automobile workshop added: “As news spread that we had won the lottery draw, we started receiving calls from people asking for financial help.”

 I made sure to try and help people who came to me asking for help.”

 - John Varughese | Lottery winner in Dubai  


Thomanna and his family conducted proper background checks and made it a point to help people he thought genuinely needed the money.

John Varughese added: “I made sure to try and help people who came to me asking for help. I also found ways to do charity in kind by helping some poor people in our hometown with household supplies. I wanted to share the blessing I had received.”

Business, property investment

Most of the winners have plans to invest in a business or become an entrepreneur.

Varughese added: “One of the winners in our group has bought shares to a new mall that recently opened in the Indian city of Bangalore. He is finally living his dream to be a businessman.”

Varughese himself had plans to start a small supermarket or a salon.

Francis Sebastian, a 35-year-old showroom salesman added: “So far I have not used the money for anything but I have plans to start a business." 

"It needs a lot of planning and groundwork, so I am taking the time to chart it out, to ensure things go smoothly and the money is utilised wisely,” Sebastian added.

Thomanna plans to invest in property. He added: “I don’t intend to start a business yet but in the future, I plan to use a part of the money to invest in property.”

Name of imagePinto Paul Thommana. Gulf News

Lifestyle changes

When you win a million dirhams does it change the way you shop?

For Pinto Thomanna, it did not.

 I never had interest in a luxurious lifestyle. I feel money should be spent only on things we need.”

 - Pinto Paul Thommana | Lottery winner in Dubai  


He said: “I never had interest in a luxurious lifestyle. I feel money should be spent only on things we need. After winning, I went to India and we bought a small car which was already planned. It just cost us nearly Rs500,000 (Dh24,735). We didn’t go overboard.”

John Varughese also bought a car for his family in India that his wife Leny John will drive. 

A small part of his winnings was used for home improvement and maintenance.

He said: “Winning this money has given me the freedom to be able to buy things with peace, knowing that it will not affect my monthly budget or take away from our important expenses. I still make it a point not to overspend.”

However, all these winners said they continue to be careful about their money and are thankful it has taken care of their past financial liabilities. They all decided to continue working in the UAE and keep their existing jobs.