Any chance that you stopped by the newspaper-shop ‘t Patje in Brugge, Belgium, sometime late last year to buy a ticket in the National Lottery? Because someone who bought a ticket there won the prize for the drawing held back on 31 December – a cool €1.16 million! As the prime Flemish daily De Standaard reports, no one has stepped up to claim this prize yet, and the 20-week grace-period they are allowed in which to do so is now half-over.
Never before has a winner made the Lottery authorities have to wait this long, which (according to the article, at least) is actually making them nervous that they might have to just throw the money back into the pot if no one turns up. “We’re going to do everything to find the winner,” declares Lottery spokeswomen Ann Publie to the paper.
By the way, I searched in vain for any mention of this story within the French-language Belgian press. This led me to wonder whether this lottery organization, despite the “National” in its name, was perhaps only something for the Flemish part of Belgium. But no, it appears it is Nationale in fact, contributing each year millions of its proceeds to both the Flemish and French states/communities. (That’s €36.8 and €24.52 respectively; I interpret those sums to be set as proportional to those communities’ respective populations. It even devotes a much-smaller sum to the German community.). I guess in the first instance that this lack of French coverage simply comes down to the fact that the winner is known to have bought his/her winning ticket at that newsstand in Brugge (which you may know as “Bruges”), well within Flanders – but still, this does not reflect particularly well upon cross-community solidarity.