A man from Iraq has won $6.4 million on the Oregon Lotteryâ€™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 customersâ€™ 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 â€œabsolutely unprecedentedâ€, 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 winnersâ€™ identities to be revealed, the player would remain anonymous due to the security risk to his family in Baghdad.
â€œIn this case, I made the decision based on talking to the guy,â€ said Roberts, â€œI 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 countryâ€™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 Binkyâ€™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.