The 64-year-old Bormla resident who won the government’s VAT fiscal receipts lottery 13 times in less than 18 months was not the only participant with astonishingly good luck.
Further research by The Shift has uncovered another 23 lucky individuals who had their tickets drawn multiple times since January 2021, despite competing with millions of other participating receipts.
While the Bormla resident of Triq il-Polverista took home some €9,000 from her 13 wins, a 41-year-old man from Siggiewi with ID number 239881M walked away with a total of €18,584 after just four wins.
A 71-year-old from Naxxar was almost as lucky, winning 11 times in the same period.
The Shift analysed more than a year’s worth of lottery results, comparing the number of times the same ID Card holders were declared winners by the VAT Department in the monthly draws since January 2021.
A total of 24 people were declared winners multiple times in less than a year and a half.
Lottery experts told The Shift last week that it is close to “mathematically impossible” for the same participant to have his or her tickets extracted more than once in the same draw, which has a pool of some 3 million fiscal receipts.
Sources said, “it is not excluded that some participants are posting thousands of receipts, making the possibility of winning much bigger than others”.
The Shift is informed that some parishes collect VAT receipts from churchgoers for the priest to have some extra cash to administer his parish in case of a win. Yet this is the exception, as the list of multiple repeat winners shows.
The National Audit Office called for a revamp of the lottery in 2018 after discovering multiple shortcomings in its administration, but nothing has been done.
The system was introduced in the 1990s by then Finance Minister John Dalli as part of an effort to reduce rampant VAT evasion. Customers were encouraged to send their collected fiscal receipts to the VAT department to participate in a monthly draw.
Several receipts were drawn each month during a televised event, with winners receiving 100 times the value of their tickets in cash. Tickets continue to be drawn until a €60,000 monthly cap is reached.
There have been several cases of abuse connected to the lottery over the years, with VAT department officials accused in court of tampering with the draw.
The televised draw was stopped when the Labour Party was elected to government, leading to increasing suspicions of fraud.