Proud Kingsford Hotel publican Tony Harnett. Picture: Dylan Coker
Proud Kingsford Hotel publican Tony Harnett. Picture: Dylan Coker

Men enter bar, win $3.5 million

A QUIET afternoon beer for two South Australian mates quickly escalated when they won a record $3.5 million Keno jackpot.

The longstanding family friends were enjoying a catch up over a few beers at Gawler's Kingsford Hotel when they won the Keno Spot 10 jackpot of $3,529,036.30 about 4pm on Monday afternoon.

The "laid back sort of characters" couldn't believe their luck when their winning numbers flashed up on the screen.

"We've been buying Keno tickets jointly for a month or so. We stand right next to the machine and we just watch the Keno screen and have a chat," one of the men said.

"Last night, my mate turned to me and I think his immortal words were 'I think we got a few numbers in this one'.

"That's when we saw the jackpot message pop up on the screen saying the Keno Spot 10 Jackpot had been won at Kingsford Hotel."

The man said the only other woman playing Keno in the pub said "well, it's not me" and the mates knew they'd landed the bounty.

"So we just grinned at each other. It had to be us," he said.

"We had a few extra drinks and let it rip."

The men say they have no idea yet as to how they will spend their $1.76 million cut but their imaginations are at full flight.

"We're splitting it but I don't think either of us really know what we're going to do yet. It hasn't really hit home because we haven't seen the colour of the money," one said.

"We were joking on the way down to Adelaide seeing bulldozers and things, saying 'Ooohh, we could afford one of those now' but that's as far as it's gone.

"We'll let the dust settle a bit and then who knows."

The men said the winning numbers were picked automatically through QuickPick.

"We played the same numbers again three times so it was actually third time lucky," one said.

The jackpot was the most won by a Keno player in the past 15 years. The Spot 10 prize had been jackpotting since a Millicent local won $2.4 million in April last year.

Publican Tony Harnett, 61, who runs the Kingsford Hotel with his wife, Josie, said he can't remember a bigger win in his 17 years at the pub.

"Not anywhere near that scale, maybe $10,000 but nothing like this," he told The Advertiser.

"Everyone was very pleased for the boys that they won, they're very good people in the community here in Gawler.

"The feeling was just exciting and it's still exciting."

"It's great to see it won by local members of our community and we know the win will make a tremendous difference to their lives," he said.

While others tried their luck at Keno in the sports bar Tuesday night, hoping to pull off a similar jackpot, Mr Harnett said the lucky men were laying low.

"They left pretty quickly, there conservative fellas and are the sorts of people that will really benefit from the win. It's life-changing for these guys," he said.

The winning Keno numbers in the draw were 49, 36, 70, 48, 1, 2, 74, 7, 41, 9, 62, 68, 60, 29, 23, 72, 3, 25, 39 and 67.

The Gawler win set the luck spreading across South Australia, with the Spot 10 jackpot going off 90 minutes later in Strathalbyn.

The prize was sitting at $1,001,626.10 when it was won by a Mount Barker businessman at the Commercial Hotel.

The man, who said his jaw dropped and that he was surprised to see the jackpot go off so soon again, plans to take his wife on an overseas trip to Europe.

News Corp Australia

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