A Michigan woman thought she won $500 in a lottery scratch-off ticket, but actually won $1 million, which she found out when she attempted to turn in the ticket at a gas station.
As WDIV-TV(Detroit) reports, the unidentified woman bought an instant ticket, or “scratch-off ticket” as hey’re sometimes called, at a Port Huron gas station. Specifically she bought a Michigan Lottery Super Bonus Cashword ticket. The instant game functions as sort of a crossword puzzle, where the player reveals letters to cross off on the playing field. The more words are revealed, the more the player wins.
The player, identified only as being a 60-year-old woman, apparently didn’t fully understand the rules of the game. When she first “completed” it, she thought she’d won $500. She went back to the gas station to redeem it.
At this point, we’ll break for a discussion of how lottery tickets are redeemed. In general, you can redeem your ticket at a point of sale for up to a certain amount – say, $600 or so. That’s because retailers don’t generally keep lots of cash on hand – certainly not a million bucks, anyway – in order to limit their liability in case of robbery or embezzlement.
So with that in mind: the woman went back to the gas station to redeem her ticket, thinking she’d walk out with five Benjamins. The clerk scanned the ticket and then handed it back to her, telling her, in what may have been the understatement of the century, that he “couldn’t cash it.”
“I went back to the Speedway to get paid and they told me they weren’t able to cash it.”
— Detroit NewsChannel (@Detroit_NC) June 22, 2018
The woman went back home and realized she’d failed to finish. She uncovered more words and figured she’d won $5000. She was wrong.
“The next day after I got home from work, I decided to go over the ticket one more time. That’s when I found the word ‘raid.’ I thought: ‘This can’t be real!’ So, I called the Lottery and when the woman on the phone confirmed I’d won $1 million, I started shaking so much I dropped the phone.”
The 60-year-old took the ticket to the Michigan Lottery headquarters, where she was issued a check. Usually, state lotteries will allow winners of large jackpots to take either an annuity – that is, the amount of the advertised jackpot paid out annually over a number of years – or a “lump sum,” which can be as little as half of the advertised jackpot. In this case, the lump-sum value of her ticket was $634,000 – before taxes, of course.
The woman waxed poetic about her new wealth.
“Winning is amazing. Instead of watching my pennies, now I’m counting my dollars.”