UAE's lucky millionaires relive moments of joy after winning top Mahzooz prize

A motley crew of winners of Mahzooz talk of how they kept their faith in dame luck going, despite kerfuffle over challenges of expat life in the Emirates



by

Joydeep Sengupta

Published: Sun 7 Aug 2022, 10:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 3:03 PM

Mahzooz means ‘lucky’ in Arabic.

And as these heart-warming tales show, people from diverse nationalities and all walks of life have been lucky while chasing their Mahzooz dreams.

Consider the case of Reece, a British national, who has been working as a manager at a gymnasium in the UAE for the past four years. He is a lucky groom who won Dh10 million prize just before his wedding. The 26-year-old had heard of Mahzooz from his colleagues, and he has been trying his luck since the weekly draw was launched in 2020.

Reece
Reece

Though he had won Dh1,000 in an earlier attempt, the paltry sum did not damper his spirit. The day he won Dh10 million, he had second thoughts about choosing number 15 for his line. Rather than opt for number 15, he chose 16, and he said that was the best decision he had ever made in his life.

The first thing Reece told his fiancé after winning was “We won”. It was an overwhelming moment for Reece and his fiancé, who had spent 18 months planning and saving for their dream wedding with contributions from their respective families as well. The couple received the biggest surprise of their lives from Mahzooz.

With their first child on the way, the couple wants to invest their big win wisely to afford the comforts of a growing family.

Engin with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC
Engin with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC

Similarly, Engin, a 33-year-old civil engineer from Turkey who has lived in Dubai for two years, has been taking part in Mahzooz since March 2021.

Engin, a quality manager for a private company who had previously won Dh1,000 with Mahzooz, learned about the weekly raffle draw from promotional activities. According to Engin, there is no secret to winning Mahzooz.

He allows the universe to determine the numbers for him rather than basing them on his birthday, anniversary, or any other date. When Engin received the call from Mahzooz informing him of his Dh10million win, he struggled to process it and began to shake uncontrollably. Engin described this sensation to be “pure bliss”.

However, in retrospect, he was astonished by how accurate his intuition had been.

Engin and his professional photographer wife intend to settle down permanently in the UAE and plan to invest in real estate facing the iconic Palm Jumeirah.

Junaid Rana with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC. Photo: Shihab
Junaid Rana with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC. Photo: Shihab

Junaid Rana, the first grand prize winner of Mahzooz, who received Dh50 million, doesn’t require an introduction.

Junaid, a proud UAE resident, has spent more than three decades of his life in Dubai and has lived in the country since he was a six-month-old baby. The 36-year-old Pakistani expatriate considers the UAE to be his first home.

He attributes his success as a millionaire to the prayers of his mother, wife, and the unborn third child.

Junaid has been participating in Mahzooz since its inception, and on the day, he won the grand prize, he chose his numbers at random. Junaid didn’t even know he had won until he had a chance conversation with his co-worker who said that a participant at Mahzooz had won the grand prize of Dh50 million. With the money from his big win, Junaid bought a house for his family.

Hamdi
Hamdi

Take the case of Hamdi, a French-Tunisian national and a die-hard football fan, who won the Dh10milliom grand prize in the 56th weekly live Mahzooz draw.

The Abu Dhabi resident became a multimillionaire overnight after matching five out of the five winning numbers. Those numbers made the 38-year-old TV producer Mahzooz’s 20th millionaire only because of a timely change of heart he had.

“I stepped out of my house for some fresh air, and I remembered I hadn’t participated in Mahzooz. I picked a few numbers without much thought and replaced 48 with 47 when I recollected 48 was one of previous week’s winning numbers,” said the father of two children.

As the live draw that changed Hamdi’s life was unfolding, he was engrossed watching a football match and didn’t check the email notification announcing his windfall gains until after the game. While Dh10million can buy him most luxuries, Hamdi reiterated it can’t buy out his passion for his profession. “You can give me all the money in the world, and I still wouldn’t quit my job. I love being a TV producer — it’s hard work and requires me to travel a lot but I enjoy this field. I’ll maybe use some of my winnings to finance special media projects,” he said.

He added, “I love cooking, so I’ve always dreamed of launching a food channel on YouTube, or opening a small restaurant, or going on a culinary tour around world and documenting it. I’m blessed that Mahzooz has given me the opportunity to fulfil my responsibilities to my family without having to sacrifice my personal goals. I will also spread my blessings by donating to charities and those in need.”

Thinakar
Thinakar

For years, Indian farmer-turned-mason Thinakar hoped that the land he and his parents farmed on would yield a bumper crop and change their lives. But it was in the 57th weekly live Mahzooz Grand Draw that the 25-year-old skilled labourer from Fujairah reaped a bounty of Dh10million.

The first-time participant became Mahzooz’s 21st millionaire after matching five out of the five winning numbers. While Thinakar’s friends believed it was a case of beginner’s luck, he insisted it’s his late grandparents’ blessings that have yielded him the wealth of a lifetime at his very first attempt with Mahzooz. “I had seen my friends participate for months and thought it was time I did, too. I was very nervous as it was my first time participating, so I selected the numbers randomly. My late grandparents’ blessings have brought me this money as the lifeline to save my family.”

Thinakar moved to the UAE two years ago with the money he borrowed from friends, as he wanted to rescue his family from mounting debt.

Thinakar has decided to reunite with his family and asked his eldest sibling working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to return home to jointly run a business and cultivate their land.

Fortune accelerated Filipino expatriate Paterio’s status to that of a millionaire overnight during the 50th weekly live Mahzooz Grand Draw.

Paterio with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC.
Paterio with Farid Samji, Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC.

Paterio, 52, is resolute that the entirety of his prize money will be dedicated to giving his family all the possible comforts imaginable. “I wouldn’t have been able to save such a huge amount even if I had worked for a hundred years,” said the material contract supervisor, who has spent 13 years working in the construction industry, away from his family. “I’ve had goosebumps ever since I received the call informing me about my win. This amount will allow my family and I to pursue any and every dream we have.” For the father of two, what tops that list of dreams is state-of-the-art care for his younger son who has cerebral palsy. “There are some dreams Dh10million can’t fulfil, like helping my child who can’t walk or sit to live a normal life. But this money will help me take care of his medical expenses and give him the best at-home hospice care possible. I will remain forever grateful to Mahzooz for that,” said the regular Mahzooz participant. A big house followed by real estate investments are on Paterio’s list of investments.

“A family house has been my wife’s greatest dream for years, and now it’s time to finally grant her that wish,” he said. The self-confessed motorhead plans to buy a Ford Raptor, not as a treat for himself, he clarified, but another prudent investment: “The pickup truck is for a business my wife and I plan to invest the prize money in. I’m a normal guy who enjoys a simple, low-profile life. The fact that this money allows me to offer my family a beautiful future is the greatest gift of all for me,” he added.

‘The UAE is a land of boundless opportunities’

Farid Samji is the Chief Executive Officer of EWINGS LLC, the managing operator of Mahzooz, which was formerly known as Emirates Loto.

Mahzooz is the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) only weekly live draw that offers players a life-changing opportunity with millions of dirhams to be won every week. Mahzooz is dedicated to giving back to the community and making people’s dreams come true.

Samji is a seasoned investment banker with over 20 years of experience in listed equities, alternative investments and private equity space. He has had successful stints with Credit Suisse, The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), which is now known as First Abu Dhabi Bank following the merger between NBAD and First Gulf Bank (FGB), Sheikh Zayed Private office (ICT) with proven expertise and a robust track record.

He explained how Mahzooz came up with the concept of the GCC’s first weekly digital draw.

“The UAE has always been well regarded as the land of opportunities. Having identified a gap in the market for a weekly raffle draw concept, EWINGS developed Mahzooz in 2020 to facilitate the fulfillment of dreams and aspirations of those who want to make use of such opportunities. Soon after the launch, Mahzooz became the GCC’s leading weekly live draw offering participants a chance to win millions of dirhams every week. At the same time, Mahzooz made it its mission to change lives not only through its weekly prizes which have reached Dh245,000,000 to date, but also through its ongoing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes that has touched the lives of over 8,000 beneficiaries to date,” he said.

The inspiration behind Mahzooz is not hard to seek. “Mahzooz is one of the rare pandemic success stories. The draw was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic a little over two years ago and has since changed participants’ lives for the better. It brings ambitions and hopes to life for those who have given up on them or are experiencing financial difficulties. As the UAE has long been renowned as a nation of opportunities, EWINGS decided to introduce Mahzooz during the most trying times of the pandemic and give people hope at a time when businesses were closing, or employees were forced to work remotely. Mahzooz had to overcome several obstacles, but it was able to do so because of the dedication and perseverance of its people,” he said.

Mahzooz made its debut as Emirates Loto in March 2020 — just before the pandemic struck in the Middle East — as the first weekly draw in the GCC

Emirates Loto enjoyed tremendous popularity during its three-month run.

Samji weighed in on the rebranding as Mahzooz, which led to a six-month break.

“But it was necessary to take a short hiatus to improve the platform and systems based on our customers’ feedback. The organisation determined that a six-month break would be the best method to improve each customer touchpoint, make the consumer journey as seamless as possible and review each step of the product-purchasing process. The bird Mahzooz served as Emirates Loto’s mascot, and it was retained after the brand name was changed to reassure customers that it was still the same business. The name Mahzooz was chosen to be associated with the bird since Mahzooz in Arabic means lucky and the mascot appeared to represent luck. The successful rebranding of Emirates Loto as Mahzooz was the outcome of this branding strategy,” he added.

The CSR is at the heart of the Mahzooz initiative.

“Mahzooz has been making a difference in people’s lives through its broad, community-focused CSR programme, which is ingrained in the company’s DNA, in addition to impacting the lives of their participants through their weekly live draws. Focusing on social and environmental impact, Mahzooz’s community support is carried out through a growing network of accredited non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and not-for- profit organisations for added transparency. Health, education, and social empowerment have been given top priority in Mahzooz’s CSR initiatives,” Samji said.

He listed the following as Mahzooz’s recent CSR initiatives.

Mahzooz is collaborating with the Al Jalila Foundation to sponsor healthcare for people who are unable to pay for treatments on their own. Mahzooz has supported a young Filipina mother, who is suffering from cancer, and has also provided financial aid for a one-year-old baby’s kidney transplant this quarter as part of Al Jalila Foundation’s A’awen programme, which offers aid to UAE-based patients. Besides, Mahzooz has been extending support to Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) on a regular basis.

The organisation is supporting innovative initiatives such as the development of a sensory garden for children of Rashid Center for People of Determination to promote physical fitness.

It celebrated the graduation of a group of blue-collar workers from SmartLife’s SmartReading English Language programme, which aims to improve their communication skills.

It has set up an embroidery workshop for Awladouna’s Needle and Thread project.

Earlier this year, Mahzooz also teamed up with SmartLife and donated construction workers satchels containing toiletries and other essentials during the Holy month of Ramadan.

‘The best draw in the region’

Samji unequivocally says Mahzooz has no competition “Mahzooz gives hope to people every single week and has enriched people’s lives through its weekly prizes including the guaranteed raffle prizes. Our proven track record, customer-centric approach, CSR activities, and Dh245,000,000 given away in prize money to over 175,000 winners to date, have all contributed to a heightened confidence in the draws, week after week, and the draw’s continuous success,” he said.

He reeled off statistics to bolster his argument.

“We’re proud to have produced 25 multi-millionaires in a span of two years, including the most recent ones, where three winners won Dh10 million each over the course of four weeks in June and July. Mahzooz has established itself as a market leader through ongoing innovative offerings that aim at always exciting its participants, as evidenced by its stellar growth. Mahzooz is founded on transparency, thanks to its state-of-the-art technology and is driven by consumer trends and customer feedback to ensure that the draw maintains market leadership in terms of affordable, trustworthy, and intuitive offerings,” he said.

What about competition since Mahzooz is a new kid on the block?

Samji provided more data to put a lid on the debate. “With eight grand prize winners to date, Mahzooz have delivered the prizes to every winner unlike some of the other competitors whose draws are designed on very slim chances of winning a top prize,” he added.

He cited data to let the sceptics draw their own inferences.

“Data shows that we’ve distributed more than Dh245,000,000 to 175,000 winners, who belong to 190 countries since its launch. Mahzooz has established an enviable and proven record within a short span of time. Besides, its grand prize, Mahzooz has been awarding millions of dirhams each week in second and third-place prizes and guaranteed raffle prizes,” he added.

Samji paid a glowing tribute to the lucky winners.

“Despite their big wins, many of Mahzooz’s winners continue working at their jobs and are grounded as they feel that their jobs and this country have given them the opportunity to win and grow,” he said.

It’s your turn to become an overnight millionaire. A Mahzooz ticket costs Dh35 and can transform your life like it did for countless people from all walks of life since its launch in March 2020.


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