Dec 15

Man Scoops $6.4 Million Oregon Lottery Jackpot from Iraq

A man from Iraq has won $6.4 million on the Oregon Lottery’s Megabucks game, having bought his ticket through an online lottery concierge service. The official Oregon Lottery does not sell tickets on the internet, but The Lotter sends locally-based agents to buy tickets on its customers’ behalf, uploading scans of the entries to their accounts and helping them through the claims procedure if they win.

Spokesman for the lottery, Chuck Baumann, called the win “absolutely unprecedented”, with Lottery Director Jack Roberts confirming that he had been advised the man had acted perfectly legally and was eligible to collect his winnings. Roberts also stated that, despite state law requiring lottery winners’ identities to be revealed, the player would remain anonymous due to the security risk to his family in Baghdad.

“In this case, I made the decision based on talking to the guy,” said Roberts, “I would hope that people would respect the reasons for not giving the name. It’s not going to mean anything to them, but it could to someone halfway around the world.”

The winner, who is 37 and has a wife and two children back home, made the 7,000 mile trip to Oregon Lottery headquarters in Salem on December 1 to claim his winnings. He runs a trading company in his country’s capital and told Willamette Week that buying lottery tickets is a hobby but he never thought he would win. His winning ticket was bought on August 24 from Binky’s Deli in Bend, with the delay in claiming the prize due to the length of time it took to obtain a visa for travel to the US. He now intends to make the most of his trip, hoping to stop off in Miami before he returns home.

He will receive his award in installments over 25 years, with the first slice of $158,720 ($256,000 minus 38 percent tax withholding) having already been paid into a new bank account set up in Oregon. The winner claims that his family are already financially comfortable and that he intends to give some of his prize to his children.

In addition to Megabucks, the Oregon Lottery also offers games like Win for Life and Lucky Lines as well as the massive multi-state lotteries, Powerball and Mega Millions.

by Mike Redfern
Updated December 11th, 2015

Oct 15

Single Ticket Wins $310.5 Million Powerball Jackpot in Michigan

A single Powerball ticket, bought at a gas station in Michigan, has won its owner the biggest single American lottery prize of the year –  a cool $310.5 million! The entry was purchased at a Shell station in Three Rivers around 6:30pm on Wednesday September 30th, just hours before the numbers 21, 39, 40, 55 and 59 with Powerball 17 were drawn in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Powerball winner has yet to come forward and claim the second biggest jackpot of 2015, only beaten by the $564.1 million bounty from Wednesday February 1, which was shared by three ticket holders. When they do make themselves known to lottery officials, they will have to decide whether to accept the full amount in 30 payments over 29 years, or instead opt for a cash payment of $197.4 million before taxes.

Wednesday’s victorious participant is the first resident of the Mitten State to snare the Powerball jackpot since Donald Lawson scooped a prize worth $337 in August 2012. Lawson decided to take the cash lump sum option of $224.6 million.

The Powerball jackpot had been rolling since Willie Nelson of California picked up the cash prize of $70.1 million ($110 million annuity) in the drawing on Saturday August 1. Nelson bought his winning ticket from the Choice Market at 5001 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles while he was picking up some thick slab bacon, and only came forward recently to claim his windfall.

Regina Bontrager, manager of the Shell on Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers, has revealed to the press that she knows the identity of the winner, but would not say who they were, telling the MLive website “I’m protecting my friends, I have to do that.”

The Michigan Lottery offers the massive multi-state games Powerball and Mega Millions, along with local favourites such as Fantasy 5 and Lotto 47. Winners of Michigan Lottery prizes have a year from the date of the draw in which to stake their claim.

by Mike Redfern
Updated October 2nd, 2015

Jul 14

Tennessee Resident Wins $259 Million Powerball Jackpot

Friday July 4th 2014


A Knoxville resident has stepped forward to claim the largest prize in the history of the Tennessee Lottery. Roy Cockrum visited the Tennessee Lottery offices on Thursday, July 3rd in order to present the winning ticket from the Powerball drawing held on June 11th. He chose to take a lump sum payment rather than annuity payments after scooping the $259.8 million jackpot – a record for the state.  After taxes, the Knoxville resident will bank $115 million. The owner of the Kroger store that sold the ticket has received a $25,000 retailer bonus, all of which has been donated to non-profit organizations in Knoxville. Cockrum initially thought he had just $500 and was stunned to discover that he had actually hit the jackpot.

Cockrum says he will use a large part of the money to establish a foundation that supports performing arts organizations across the U.S. The lucky winner previously worked as an actor and a stage manager and hopes to give other performers the resources they need to achieve their dreams. Several charities will also benefit from Cockrum’s winnings.

If you want your own chance to win big, then don’t forget to buy your Powerball tickets for the  $101 million drawing on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online or at an authorized retailer.

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 6th, 2019

Jun 14

Couple Claims CAD$50M Lotto Max Prize After Losing Ticket

Canada Lotto Max NewsThursday June 5 2014 – A Canadian couple finally came forward this week to claim their CAD$50 million Lotto Max jackpot prize after temporarily losing their ticket. The last few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Hakeem and Abiola Nosiru of Toronto as they won the jackpot back in January but lost their ticket. After months of frantic searching, the ticket was finally found and returned to them by someone from their church.

The lucky couple, who claimed their prize on Monday at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto, found out they had hit the jackpot on January 18 after Hakeem, a keen lottery player, checked the ticket at his local retailer. At that point, lottery officials had confirmed that the winning ticket had been purchased in the area so, as the store was so busy, Hakeem waited in line for the self-checker machine. Initially Hakeem thought he had won CAD$50,000 but when he validated the ticket with the retailer, the terminal’s bells and whistles went off and he realized he was in fact the jackpot winner.

Hakeem ran around the store crying with excitement and frantically drove home to tell his wife that they had won CAD$50 million. The couple decided to keep the news to themselves and that night Hakeem taped the ticket to his body. The next day before church Hakeem signed the back of the ticket and gave it to Abiola for safekeeping ande she put it in an envelope in her purse. However, at the church their grandchildren were playing with her purse and Abiola said that somehow the ticket slipped out. When Abiola realized she had lost the ticket, all she could think about was how she was going to tell her husband.

Hakeem and Abiola reported the missing ticket to local police but carried on searching for it. Amazingly, their despair turned to joy after a fellow church member found the ticket and returned it to the couple on April Fools’ Day. Luckily Hakeem had signed the back of the ticket and included his address otherwise this story would have had a very different ending.

As the couple had reported the ticket lost, they had to hand the winning ticket to police who carried out an investigation. On Monday, almost a month after handing the ticket over, officials confirmed that Hakeem and Abiola were the jackpot winners and the couple finally received a check for the winnings.

The couple, who have four children and five grandchildren, have plans to use their windfall to purchase a new home and travel around the world. Speaking about the fellow churchgoer who united them with their ticket, Abiola said they hadn’t decided what they will do for the woman yet but, at the moment, just want to thank her.

Hakeem and Abiola’s story highlights how important it is to sign your ticket and keep it safe.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated June 5th, 2014

Apr 14

Top Lottery Award for Montana Retailer Laurie Peres

Thursday April 10 2014 – Montana Lottery representatives traveled to Great Falls earlier this week to surprise local retailer Laurie Peres with the Outstanding Retailer of the Year award.  Peres beat off stiff competition from more than 850 other lottery retailers to secure the prestigious prize and was stunned when Lottery director Angela Wong arrived to present her with the award.


Angela Wong presents Laurie Peres with her well deserved award
Image Source: Montana Lottery

Peres’ store, Peres’ Food Basket, was nominated by lottery sales representative Debbie Sebens who said the store, despite its small size, does incredibly well in sales. Sebens also identified Peres as the key reason for the store’s success; “Laurie is always looking for innovative ways to increase sales and foster excellent customer relations.”

Sebens also praised Peres’ ingenuity; her themed monthly grab bags encourage players to spend at least $5 on lottery tickets as they reward customers with free gifts and small prizes.  Peres contacted both Montana Lottery and a range of local businesses to source the mini rewards with the aim of giving players an improved product and providing inexpensive promotion and advertising to help other local businesses thrive.

Peres is just as popular as her promotions and local lady Cheryl Hannant said; “Her store is the best in town and she is the nicest person one could ever meet!” The statement rings true and Peres is an avid supporter of many local schemes and charities. Every year Peres decorates a Christmas tree with $300 worth of lottery tickets and donates it to the St. Thomas Child and Family Centre’s fundraiser.

However, her community spirit does not stop there and Peres also provides financial backing to a local youth club. Her store is adorned with artwork from the Montanta Meth Charity and on Friday nights she projects movies onto the side of her building to give local kids something to do. If that wasn’t enough, Peres is also known to check on elderly customers who haven’t visited her store for a few days.

Peres earned her lottery award for “dedication, enthusiasm, commitment and performance” but it seems these traits stretch far beyond the field of ticket sales. Thankfully, Peres’ generosity has not gone unrecognized; in 2012 Peres faced financial ruin after the unexpected death of her husband but scores of customers and residents came to the rescue by giving cash, cheques and goodwill parcels to help the local heroine recover.

We’d like to congratulate Laurie Peres on her achievement, recognize her outstanding contribution to her local community and wish her the best of luck for the future.

The Robert D. Harper II Memorial Outstanding Lottery Retailer Award was created 15 years ago to honour the life and work of influential Montana Lottery manager and sales representative, Bob Harper.


by Mike Redfern
Updated April 10th, 2014