If you win lottery over $25,000 playing Quebec lottery you will receive Virtual Reality counselling. This step has been taken by Loto Quebec to combat bullying of the winners. So all Quebec’s lottery winners are to be offered virtual reality therapy, which comes with an innovative new partnership between Loto-Quebec and the Jasmine Roy Foundation, an organization devoted to combatting bullying.
Virtual reality has many exciting uses beyond video-gaming, but providing therapy for Canadian lottery winners was the last one on the list. It seems that barely a day goes by without someone dreaming up an intriguing new use for virtual reality. The medium’s applications go way beyond gaming, into the realms of immersive journalism, engineering, education, healthcare, art, storytelling, and now… protecting lottery winners against grasping bullies.
Loto-Quebec’s eight-minute immersive experience is designed to complement its existing counselling program, which is available to lottery winners of more than $25,000. That’s around 1,500 people per year.
When they win a large prize, winners’ lives change and they are immediately confronted with important decisions, both on the emotional and financial level. They also often solicited from a number of sources for various reasons, including requests for donations, lifelong projects, investments, etc.
Thanks to virtual reality, winners are now able to experience different situations they may be facing in their new lives like for example, with pushy friends, relatives or colleagues who are anxious to get their hands on a slice of the windfall. They’ll see concrete ways to react and how to answer unsolicited requests they might receive in addition to hearing advice directly from Loto‑Québec’s customer service team. Winners’ loved ones can even participate in workshops in order to understand the winner’s new reality.
The situations winner may face
Loto-Quebec claims its new VR tool allows winners to experience potentially problematic situations that can be expected to arise following their name and face appearing in the media holding one of those giant novelty checks.
These dodgy scenarios include unsolicited requests from charities looking for donations, family and friends seeking financial assistance, scammers offering dodgy investment schemes, and (presumably) hordes of would-be paramours pledging to drink a tub of the winner’s bathwater.
But it’s not all as easy-going and light as this, and some previous jackpot winners have faced a lot worse – including violence. One male winner from Georgia, who bagged the jackpot in 2015, was murdered for his money by seven masked men.
Lottery winners can also face more threatening scenarios, as Mavis Wanczyk, the sole winner of Powerball second-highest jackpot of $758.7m, is now learning. Wanczyk’s windfall was the single biggest lottery prize in North American history – 2016’s record $1.6b jackpot was split three ways – and the predators are reportedly emerging from their ratholes in appropriate numbers.
The day after Wancyzk’s name was announced, police in her hometown of Chicopee, Massachusetts reported receiving at least half a dozen reports of people knocking on house doors to determine if she lived inside. Police are keeping a watchful eye on Wanczyk’s actual residence, mindful that a Georgia Lottery winner was murdered in his home in 2015 by seven masked men out for a quick score.
For the record, Wanczyk opted to take a lump-sum payment of $480m rather than take the whole $758.7m in annual installments. After taxes, Wanczyk is expected to net around $336m.
Winners are already advised to seek out the support of professionals, to identify their true needs, to learn to say no, to think things through before making any decisions and ultimately to make their own choices. Traditionally, follow-ups are made with winners by the customer service team two and six months after they receive their prize.
By using virtual reality, Loto‑Québec’s customer service team is able to provide lottery winners additional support and a unique educational experience. For the first time in Canada, virtual reality is being used to sensitize lottery winners and give them the tools required to confront real-life situations. Virtual reality immerses users in a very realistic artificial world and allows them to interact intuitively and naturally with this environment.
This partnership opens the door to the development of other virtual reality tools to inform the general public about subjects like bullying in primary and secondary schools, as well as age and workplace discrimination.
There is no obligation for new winners to take the virtual reality experience, although Loto Quebec says that it “sensitizes them better than any other tool” to the pitfalls of winning the lottery.
While hitting the jackpot affects different people in very different ways, as it brings very big changes to people’s lives, forcing them to make difficult financial and emotional decisions which can often cause problems later on. The first person to try the technology was a man who scooped $500,000 on a smart phone game and picked up his prize.
Loto‑Québec’s mission is to responsibly and efficiently manage games of chance in a controlled and measured fashion, in the interest of all Quebecers. Entertainment is at the heart of its activities and in six month of Loto‑Québec has awarded 78 prizes worth $1 million or more, for a total of 93 new millionaires in 2017. Lotteries Gagnant à vie! and Grande Vie enabled 22 lucky winners to walk away with a lifetime annuity or a lump sum.
About VR Sensitization
“Sensitization” is becoming an important concept in virtual reality. The United Nations has experimented with the idea that immersing people in a Syrian refugee camp, for example, can sensitize people to human suffering and increase empathy for their plight.
The Jasmine Roy Foundation has joined the project because it hopes to one day use virtual reality to fight bullying and discrimination in the workplace.
As well as making use of Loto Quebec’s help program, winners are advised to seek out help from professionals, such as psychologists to financial advisers. The program puts is a particular emphasis on the power of learning to say no.
About Fondation Jasmin Roy
The mission of Fondation Jasmin Roy is to fight discrimination, bullying and violence against primary and secondary school children.
If you wish to try out this new tool you are invited to contact Danny Racine at firstname.lastname@example.org.