Canada says man bought lottery ticket 7 seconds too late to win millions

A Quebec man who was denied part of a $27-million jackpot because he missed the deadline to buy the ticket by seven seconds has lost his appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to get the money. The top court ruling on Thursday ended a seven-year legal battle by Joel Ifergan, an accountant from Montreal’s West Island area, to claim his share of the lottery prize. Ifergan went to a local convenience store just before 9 p.m. on May 23, 2008, to purchase tickets for that night’s “Lotto Super 7” drawing. The store clerk told him to hurry before the 9 p.m. deadline, according to a court summary. While the clock on the lottery terminal read 8:59 p.m., only one of the two tickets was registered in time. The second ticket, the winning one, was printed and registered on the Loto-Quebec computer at seven seconds after 9 p.m. (at 9:00:07 p.m.), eligible only for the following week’s drawing.

I’m really disappointed in the decision, and it’s not because it’s about the money. … Had those tickets been bought anywhere else in Canada, I would have been a millionaire seven years ago.

Joel Ifergan

The store clerk told Ifergan that only one ticket was registered in time and asked if he still wanted to buy the second ticket. Ifergan said he did, and paid for both. After he was denied half of the lottery jackpot, which was awarded to another winner, Ifergan sued Loto-Quebec for the processing lag. He now says the case has cost him more than $100,000 in legal fees.

Ifergan, an accountant by trade, has always maintained that he should have won the May 23 draw because his request for the ticket was made before 9 p.m., even though the ticket itself was printed seven seconds after deadline. Every court, including the country’s top one, has now rejected that argument.

The Montreal Gazette reports