Dubai: Some people are lucky to win a luxury car or $1 million (Dh3.67 million). But there are others who get twice lucky, and the most incredible one — thrice lucky.
The Dubai Duty Free (DDF) Millennium Millionaire has made more than 200 dollar millionaires over the past 18 years — including six people who won twice — and has given away more than 1,600 luxury cars over the last 29 years.
Since its launch in June 1999, DDF’s Millennium Millionaire draw has captured the imagination of travellers around the globe, offering departing, arriving and transiting passengers at Dubai International Airport a chance to win $1 million.
This chance to become a dollar millionaire was made available to everyone around the world in 2001 when DDF started selling tickets online.
So what began as a single draw of $1 million is now an ongoing promotion with a draw that takes place every two to three weeks.
According to data from DDF, there have been 248 lucky winners of the $1 million prize. The biggest chunk of winners are Indians with 119 winners, followed by 13 Pakistanis, 11 Filipinos, 11 British nationals, nine UAE nationals, seven Saudis, and other nationalities.
These men and women may be lucky — but six of them proved extra lucky for having won the promotion twice within the 18-year lifespan of the Millennium Millionaire.
It’s not just in the Millennium Millionaire that winners doubled their luck, however. In DDF’s Finest Surprise, the longest-running duty free promotion in the world, there have been 21 winners who won the promotion twice.
In all, probably the luckiest in terms of pot money won is Naveen Manghnani, 47, a Singaporean national of Indian origin. His first win was $2 million during the Double Millionaire Promotion in Series 04 in April 2011.
Two years later, his ticket was drawn again, making the total prize money he scooped in Dubai Duty Free $3 million.
The luckiest winner in terms of the number of times his ticket was drawn is Saadi Al Rais, an Emirati who won in the DDF draws three times. The Dubai resident recently won his second car, an Audi A8L 3.0. But he also drove home a BMW 750Li in 1996 and eight years later in 2004, he bagged the $1 million cash prize from the Millennium Millionaire draw.
The other double winners are Marc Khoury, a Canadian national living in Dubai who first won in March 2004 and who won again five years later, and Australian national Giuseppe Mark Depetro who won twice within a six-year interval.
A Dubai-based Filipino and a Saudi national also won twice, each with a one-year interval.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said it was not easy to create another promotion following the success of the DDF Finest Surprise which is now in its 29th year. But all that is history now.
“Now on its nineteenth year of operation, the Millennium Millionaire continues to evolve raising the profile of Dubai as a city. The online launch of the promotion in 2001 has served to open it to a global audience and we are seeing a steady increase on online ticket sales from all over the world,” McLoughlin told Gulf News in a statement.
Breakdown of winners by nationality:
6 Americans, 1 Austrian, 3 Australians, 2 Bahrainis, 1 Bangladeshi, 11 British, 6 Canadians, 1 Cypriot, 2 Dutch, 11 Filipinos, 5 Germans, 2 Greeks, 119 Indians, 5 Iranians, 7 Jordanians, 1 Kazakh, 1 Kuwaiti, 9 Lebanese, 1 Malaysian, 1 Moroccan, 1 Nigerian, 2 Omanis, 13 Pakistanis, 1 Qatari, 7 Saudi Arabians, 1 Singaporean, 3 South Africans, 4 Sri Lankans, 3 Swiss, 4 Syrians, 1 Tanzanian, 2 Turkish, 1 Uzbek, 1 Zambian and 9 UAE nationals.
- 6 winners who won twice in the DDF Millennium Millionaire
- 21 winners who won twice in the DDF Finest Surprise
- 1 winner who won a total of $3 million in two draws
- 1 winner who won twice in the Finest Surprise and once in the Millennium Millionaire