Loto-Quebec using virtual reality to counsel jackpot winners

Quebec's lottery corporation is using virtual reality to help winners cope with the real-life emotional and financial rollercoaster that often comes with hitting the jackpot.

Loto-Quebec says it's offering the technology for the first time today to a winner who scored a $500,000 prize on a mobile game.

The technique involves wearing a headset that immerses the user into various real-life scenarios they could encounter.

A spokesman says it lasts several minutes and includes scenes at a house party and a workplace.

"When they win a large prize, winners' lives change and they are immediately confronted with important decisions, both on the emotional and financial level," a statement from Loto-Quebec reads. "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."

Brian LeCompte says the VR experiment compliments counselling services already offered to the roughly 1,500 people a year who win prizes of $25,000 or more.

The project is a partnership with Fondation Jasmin Roy, a group that hopes to one day use virtual reality to combat bullying and discrimination in the workplace.