A mixture of luck and pain has befallen an Algerian man after winning a $270,000 lottery windfall in Belgium. The unidentified 28-year-old man won the huge prize from a scratch card worth just $5. However, he is having difficulty claiming his prize because he is an unregistered person in Belgium.
His lack of papers means he cannot open a bank account, which is needed to receive lottery payouts that exceed $100,000. This has left the man in a dilemma, wondering whether he is lucky or unlucky at the moment.
The lottery winner, desperate to collect what he sees as a life-changing amount, tried to use a friend who had the right documentation to collect the prize for him in Brussels. However, authorities arrested the said friend and an acquaintance on suspicion of stealing the ticket. The two were later released after the winner admitted that they were attempting with his approval.
The winner has now acquired the services of a lawyer, Alexander Verstraete, to help him in his pursuit. Verstraete has already made headway. He has gotten the authorities to commit not to deport the winner until he has had his bag of fortune. The lawyer is assisting the winner in getting in touch with his kin in Algeria in a bid to process the correct documentation. AFP reports indicate that the lottery did not reveal to them the documentation needed for the payment to be processed.
It is interesting to watch how the April 2022 event folds out, but at least the kindness of the Belgian authorities to let him hang around is commendable.
While the lottery win is a pure stroke of luck, the Algerian man has really pursued it. He left his home country early in the year and traveled to Spain by boat. The shortest crossing between the two coastlines is a 9-hour trip, which could go up to 15 hours. And that is on a good and legal vessel.
He then crossed on traversed Spain and France on foot before entering Belgium, where he bought the lucky ticket at Zeebrugge port. It is interesting to think of what must have been going through his mind as he bought the ticket, probably cash-strapped and weary. A court in Bruges, the region where the ticket was bought, is holding the ticket until the matter is resolved.
The winner's initial destination was the UK, but lady luck appears to have convinced him to settle in Belgium. He says he will use the prize money to make a life for himself in Belgium. He is looking to find a wife and start a family. In a humorous sentiment that shows his resilience, he emphasizes that he wants to find a wife with his heart rather than his money.
This incident brings to the fore yet again how terms and conditions can be a stumbling block even with a legitimate win. When he bought the ticket, the payment requirements were probably the last thing on the Algerian's mind. Now he has to go through another struggle to claim his cash.
While it is a pleasant pain to be in, it is always important for players to familiarize themselves with competition terms before they start playing. Where possible, always abide by those terms from the very beginning. It saves one a lot of pain and costs in the event of a big win.
Hopefully, the Algerian (possibly future Belgian) will receive his prize without spending too much on the follow-up process. And bring to fruition his wish of a good life.