-- A man who spent $49 on a raffle ticket has won an entire island resort in the Pacific.
The story begins with Doug and Sally Beitz who 24 years ago opened the luxury Kosrae Nautilus Resort in Micronesia. They raised four sons in paradise. When the Beitzes decided it was time to head home to their native Australia to be with their grandchildren full-time, they came up with the idea to raffle it off. To one lucky person.
That lucky person is reportedly from South Wales. He, like all the other contestants, spent just $49 to enter the raffle.
The Beitzes said their decision to hold a raffle instead of a traditional property sale stemmed from their desire to hand over their lives’ work to someone who had dreamed of island life just as they once did. They wanted their resort to go to a person who would respect the island's precious ecosystem -- not just someone with the deepest pockets.
“We wanted to make our resort affordable for everyone,” Doug Beitz explained. “While we are sad to part with it, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to make someone’s dreams come true.”
Anyone anywhere in the world over the age of 21 was eligible to win. Under the contest's rules, if fewer than 50,000 tickets were sold, the raffle winner would have won a cash prize equal to 50 percent of the total ticket sales instead of the resort.
Adam Beitz, one of the couple's sons, told ABC News that the majority of tickets were sold in the U.S., with Australia as a close second.
The owners say the resort is debt-free and profitable. It has 16 long-term employees, and has a minimum occupancy of 55 percent guaranteed through August 2017.