Man waits 3 days to check lottery ticket after news breaks that someone in his N.B. county won a $1M jackpot

Despite the big win, Derrek Barton plans to keep his job with the province of New Brunswick.

(Courtesy: Atlantic Lottery)
"I never dreamt it would be possible, it hasn’t really even sunk in," says the Harvey, N.B. resident. (Courtesy: Atlantic Lottery)

A small-town snowplow operator couldn’t believe his eyes when he discovered he was holding on to a $1 million winning lottery ticket through Lotto 6/49’s Gold Ball draw.

It was Derrek Barton’s birthday on Jan. 6, 2024, when he made a routine stop at his neighbourhood convenience store in Harvey, N.B., to pick up milk and his customary Lotto 6/49 tickets. Little did he know, this mundane errand would soon turn into something extraordinary, as days later, news started circulating about someone in York County winning a hefty $1 million prize.

Harvey is a community located in York County, N.B., which has a population of just over 105,000 people, according to 2021 Statistics Canada Census data. Even with the smaller population size being home to the lucky ticket, Barton couldn’t fathom that he'd be the winner.

Ultimately, it took three days before Barton’s partner, Jean, finally convinced him to go to the store and check his tickets.

“When the lady at the store checked the tickets, she looked up at me and her colour just drained,” said Barton. “She said, ‘Oh my goodness,’ and congratulated me, telling me I won a lot of money.”

At first, Barton couldn’t believe his eyes and thought he had won $1,000. Wrapping his head around winning $1 million wasn’t easy, and convincing his partner and daughter that he was now York County’s newest millionaire? That was a whole other ballgame.

“I never dreamt it would be possible, it hasn’t really even sunk in,” said Barton. “I know it’s real, but I guess I’m just over-the-top-happy.”

When it comes to what he plans to do with his win, Barton said he likes his work and his co-workers as a snowplow operator for the province of New Brunswick. He plans to continue working, but his win will help set him and his family up for the future to make sure they never face financial worry again.

“I’ve had a lot of friends and co-workers congratulate me and be so happy for me and that was very overwhelming for me,” said Barton.

“The things people said, it’s very nice to hear and it really meant a lot to me.”

Lotto 6/49 offers players the chance to win two multi-million-dollar jackpots on every $3 play. The Classic Draw offers a $5-million jackpot every Wednesday and Saturday. The Gold Ball draw, however, is a new format introduced in September 2022, and guarantees a winner every time.

It starts at $10 million, and includes 30 balls in the draw: 29 white and 1 gold. Each white ball is worth $1 million, whereas the gold ball represents the lucky jackpot prize. This Gold Ball jackpot continues to grow by $2 million each time a white ball is drawn, until it reaches $68 million with no more white balls remaining — which then guarantees a winner. In this case, Barton's lucky numbers of 96943233-01 coincided with a white ball being chosen.

In New Brunswick, a $64 million Gold Ball lottery ticket also still remains unclaimed, with the deadline coming up on April 15, 2024.

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If you're looking to take a break from gambling, self-exclusion programs can be effective tools. See here for resources that are available across Canada.