Meet Ballina's new $1.8m man
By Graham Broadhead
WHETHER it was the lure of the giant novelty cheque with the mouthful that spelt out just over $1.8 million, or the fact Ballina can still be a small place, the town’s newest millionaire yesterday came out of hiding.
Ken Mattinson won, as per the cheque – you have to read it to believe it – ‘one million, eight hundred and one thousand, seven x hundred dollars and 40 cents’ playing Keno at the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club on February 2 in a 10 from 10 number jackpot game.
At the time of his win, Ken didn’t want to be identified, but he now figures plenty of people already know who he is.
Ken has been playing Keno ever since it was introduced at his regular watering hole 16 years ago. He heads down to the bowlo a couple of times a week.
He has always joked with his mates and club staff that one day he would nail a big one.
Well, he did – but it still came as a mighty big surprise to the 59-year-old truckie, who has his own business transporting concrete.
It took a phone call from the Keno office after the numbers came up before it was cemented in Ken’s mind that he was well and truly in the money.
Ken didn’t even have the satisfaction of telling the boss he was leaving work – he is his own boss, but the concrete truck will be sold so he can retire. A holiday and helping out his two children are the immediate plans for the money.
Some of it will also go on a boat he had in the shop getting an upgrade before he had the big win.
But the money won’t change his lifestyle – the annual fishing trip to the Gulf of Carpentaria will still be done by road, with ‘no frills camping’ along the way. It’ll just be a flasher boat on the trailer.
Ken’s win is the Ballina bowlo’s biggest.
Michael Haines, the staff member who organised Ken’s entry, said it was exciting to see the club regular win.
Ken is still playing Keno, but he only plays nine number games.
“I just want to give someone else a chance,” he said.