Eastern Idaho is the hot place to be if you were a big Lottery winner in late January and February.   Of the seventeen winners who claimed a prize of more than $5,000 during this time, five of them were from eastern Idaho.

Frank LavattaThere’s a related story about Frank Lavatta of Blackfoot who won $30,000 on Mega Millions.  In addition to him, the final Harley Davidson motorcycle winner was sold at the Maverik on Bridge Street in Blackfoot.

But the winning wasn’t confined just to Blackfoot, either.  A Big Money Jackpot winner worth $207,815 was sold at the Midget Market in Idaho Falls.  One of the $100,000 top prizes from the game Fame & Fortune was sold from the Albertsons on W. Broadway in Idaho Falls.

And rounding out eastern Idaho’s luck this past month was a $5,000 winner on the game $300,000 Exclusive sold to and claimed by Leo Hoffman of Chubbuck. His winning ticket came from the Maverik located I-15 and the Center Street Exit in Pocatello.

Congratulations eastern Idaho on all of your really big wins!


Jumping for Joy

There are 400 miles between the northern Idaho community of Rathdrum and Boise, 450 if you take divided highway the entire journey.   Evidently winning a $50,000 lottery prize is enough to keep you up at night long enough to make the 400+ mile trek by car instead of just taking the red-eye flight from Spokane the next morning. 

IMG_2328.JPGMeet Michaella Wesselman who departed Rathdrum at 1 a.m. Pacific Time and arrived at Lottery offices shortly after 10 am Mountain Time the next day, fully alert, chipper, upbeat, and enthusiastic over winning $50,000 on the game Corner Club Cashword. 

“I was jumping for joy when I realized I’d won $50,000!” said Michaella, who claimed her prize alongside her mother who made the trek with her.  “I can’t believe it.  It’s real.  That was the best $5 I ever spent.”

 Michaella bought her winning Corner Club Cashword ticket from the Korner Jifi Stop in Rathdrum yesterday afternoon.  For selling the winning ticket, Korner Jifi Stop receives a bonus of $5,000.

Not one for much sight-seeing, Michaella and her mother were departing Lottery offices immediately to make the return drive to northern Idaho.  Michaella’s jumping for joy may turn into the fastest 24-hour whirlwind from winning to Boise and back again.



Oops! Couple realizes $1,000 prize is actually $1 million

Cindy Ooley and her husband, Steve, took a trip to Hoosier Lottery headquarters for what they thought was a $1,000 winning ticket. Instead, they went home with a $1,000,000.

Hoosier Lottery officials began interviewing Cindy about her win, which is standard procedure for a prize of that amount. Then Steve looked down at the table, where there was a ceremonial big check. Cindy was mid-conversation when Steve realized what the check said. He interrupted.
“That’s not $1,000,” Steve said.

The check in front of Steve and Cindy had six zeroes, not three. Hoosier Lottery officials explained to Cindy and Steve that they won $1 million.

“This is nuts. ThisIN Winner-Cindy-Ooley.jpg is crazy,” Steve said.

A look of shock entered the couple’s eyes, then realization. Cindy and Steve immediately called the bank. This wasn’t the small transaction the couple originally expected.

“We’re not going to have to watch things quite as closely,” Cindy said.

Before the excitement of a $1 million prize, Cindy was at home clearing out a desk drawer when she found old Powerball tickets. She checked to see if she had any winners. When she reviewed the Powerball ticket from the Sept. 23, 2017 drawing, she told Steve she had a $1,000 winner and they should drive to Indianapolis to claim it. Neither realized the true prize amount until they saw the ceremonial check.

With little time to react to the news, Cindy and Steve were unsure what their plans would be for the $1 million prize.


Group of 10 coworkers claim $200,000 Powerball prize

A tradition of playing Powerball together led a group of ten co-workers to a $200,000 lottery win.

“We’ve been playing the Powerball every week for the last three years,” Ronald Lute of Lincolnton said. “We each pitch in $10 and get our tickets.”
NC 10 winners.jpgSo on Saturday, Jan. 20, Lute stopped by Bob’s Superette in Lincolnton and got tickets for the Ethan Allen employees.

Dale Hedrick ofNewton was the first one to r

ealize they had a winning ticket. “I checked my phone Sunday morning,” Hedrick said. “I just kept looking at the numbers. I looked at them so many times, I memorized them.”

He immediately called Lute to tell him, but he didn’t answer. So Hedrick called Anthony Rowe of Conover instead.
“I couldn’t believe we actually won something after playing all these years,” Rowe said.

Eric Dellinger of Lincoln was the last to find out. He didn’t learn about the win until three days later.

“I was on vacation,” Dellinger explained. “I didn’t answer my phone because I thought it was work. I couldn’t believe it when I finally found out. It’s exciting.”

Dennis Setzer Jr. of Sherrills Ford, Roger Smith from Lincoln, Matthew Hedrick from Catawba, Randy Jones from Lincolnton, Randy Heavner from Lincolnton, and Johnny Moss from Newton are the other co-workers to win. They claimed their prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they each took home $14,100. They all say they plan to save the money or use it to pay bills.

The winning ticket matched the numbers on the four white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. Because the ticket had the $1 Power Play feature, the prize quadrupled to $200,000 when the 4X multiplier was drawn. Just because they won, the group doesn’t

plan to stop playing.

“We already have our tickets for Saturday’s drawing,” Lute said. “We’re going to play until we match one more number.”


Kansas man becomes a millionaire overnight!

Kansas’ newest millionaire is Richard Van Tuyl, Jr. of Leavenworth who recently claimed a Powerball ticket worth $1,000,000!

Van Tuyl’s $2 Quick Pick ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball, in the Wednesday, January 24 drawing.

KS Richard Van Tuyl, Jr..jpg“I thank the Good Lord for what I won,” said the 59-year-old winner with a laugh.

Van Tuyl described himself as an occasional player. He said he may get a ticket for every Powerball drawing for a few weeks, and then not play at all for two or three months.

“I do get almost daily inspiration, though,” disclosed the big winner. “Every day when I drive from Leavenworth to my work in Kansas City, I drive right by the big Kansas Lottery jackpot billboard!”

Van Tuyl was inspired enough to stop at a convenience store that Wednesday night to get a Powerball ticket after going out for dinner.

“I put the ticket in my sun visor, parked the truck in the garage, and slept great that night. Didn’t give it another thought,” he said.

“The next day I pulled up the Powerball numbers from the night before on my phone, and there I am, holding my phone in one hand and my ticket in the other. My eyes were saying ‘yes,’ but my brain was saying ‘no.'”

After returning to the store where he bought the ticket and having the clerk print out the winning numbers and then consulting his sister, he was finally convinced he really had won a $1,000,000 prize.

“I signed the back of the ticket right away, put it in an envelope, and put it back in the sun visor of my truck,” said Van Tuyl. “When I got home, however, I did bring it in the house. I was afraid my truck might catch on fire or something.”

Van Tuyl works for a construction company in the Kansas City area and is also involved in his family’s farming operation near Leavenworth. He and his wife Tammy have two grown children and four grandchildren.

“I’m going to pay bills, pay off my house and put the rest in the bank for now,” the lucky winner said.


News Around Idaho

Treasure Valley Kristen Woodward.jpg

Lucky Bug Cashword: Kristen Woodward of Nampa sure is one lucky bug!  She won $30,000 on Lucky Bug Cashword from a ticket she purchased at Gem Stop on Caldwell Boulevard in Nampa!




SILVER & GOLD CASHWORD: Oh my heck, that’s a lot of money!” said Abraham Streeter upon learning he had just won the last top prize of $100,000 on the game Silver and Gold Cashword!  His winning ticket was purchased at the Stinker Stores on Five Mile Road in Boise.



POWERBALL Jordan.jpgSCORE!  Laura Jordan won $50,000 on Powerball by matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball! Her winning ticket was purchased at the Shell in Fruitland!




WEEKLY GRAND JACKPOT: The 35th jackpot winning ticket on Weekly Grand was sold on February 21, 2018 from the Maverik Store located at Ustick and Ten Mile in Meridian!

Magic Valley

$300,000 EXCLUSIVE: The final top prize on the game $300,000 Exclusive was won on a ticket purchased from the Albertsons on Addison in Twin Falls!  This officially ends the $300,000 Exclusive game.

LUCKY FOR LIFE: One lucky Rupert resident, James Vibbert won $5,000 on Lucky for Life from a ticket purchased at the Stinker Store in Rupert!

Northern Idaho

REGAL RICHES: It was a good day in Grangeville for resident Christie Christensen who won $5,000 on the Scratch Game Regal Riches from a ticket she purchased at Depot II on Main Street.




blogHeaderThe future has arrived.  We are living in an age when cars can drive themselves and we can ask our electronics to play music, turn on lights, record our favorite TV shows, or start the oven.  And not that long ago, they even put a Tesla sports car into space and sent it towards Mars.  Surely, this is the future.

And with the dawn of these modern marvels arrives a bold new Lottery game that is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and it’s only in Idaho.  In fact, this futuristic ticket is the most transparent way to win we’ve ever offered.  Even winning on this game is futuristic, unique enough that players get to choose what their top prize will be!

On March 28, the Idaho Lottery will make history when we introduce the first ever clear plastic Scratch Game, Cash Getaway.  Not only is the ticket “clear” (yep, you can see right through it), it also offers the first ever “Clear Play” feature.

Cash Getaway features two top prizes of $50,000 each.  Players can choose to take thecash, or, since summer is right around the corner and summer vacation planning is too, they can work with Harmon Travel to build the most luxurious vacation of a lifetime!  The choice is yours.


In GAME 1, players scratch the starfish area to reveal a barcode for use on their smartphone or a game code to enter on a computer at Once scanned or entered, the player can play the interactive game to reveal two additional symbols. When playing on a smartphone, players can place the scratch ticket over their screen for the full “Clear Play” experience.  If they match 2 of the 4 symbols they win $25! Players without an interactive device may scratch the ticket’s regular barcode and scan their ticket at retail to see if they win.

Game 2 on Cash Getaway is simple key number match. You match any of YOUR NUMBERS to any of the WINNING PASSPORT NUMBERS to win the prize shown.  If you reveal an airplane symbol, you win that prize instantly.

The future of the world is in clear view now, but like anything in the future, seeing is believing.  And you won’t be able to see this game in person until March 28.  When you do see it, trust us, you’ll see clearly the future has arrived.

Click here to go to our YouTube page and learn more about the making of the World’s First Clear Plastic Ticket!


Hearing trumpets coming from the Lottery terminals?  That’s the sound of winning $1,000 instantly after buying any Powerball with PowerPlay ticket during the month of March.

Throughout the month, 100 lucky players will win $1,000 randomly. That’s $100,000 were giving away.  Now that’s a Cash Blast!

When the trumpet sounds, a voucher will be printed that you redeem (along with a copy of your Powerball ticket) at Lottery headquarters in person or via US mail.  The promotion ends once all 100 winners have been given away!

Have a blast this March on the Idaho Lottery.  A Cash Blast that is!



They don’t live near to one another, they didn’t even know each other.  Even stranger, both winners shared a similar story of living in one town but visiting the next town over to buy their Lottery tickets.

And as unlikely as the odds might seem, one afternoon in late February, these two Mega Millions players from opposite sides of Idaho met and became friends when they each cashed in winning tickets worth $30,000.

Hugh Massie.JPGHugh Massie from Boise bought his $30,000 winning Mega Millions ticket from the vending machine at Customer Service in the Eagle Winco Store. Frank Lavatta from Blackfoot purchased his $30,000 winning Mega Millions ticket from the K & B Kwik Stop on Roosevelt in Pocatello. And on the afternoon of February 21, the two winners from different parts of Idaho from two different draws who both matched four lucky numbers plus the Megaball AND had the Megaplier which was 3 both times together claimed their prizes of $30,000.

And while there was a lot of discussion on who was going to do what with their winnings, it seemed that Hugh might buy Frank a hat band for his cowboy hat and that Frank might get Hugh his own cowboy hat. And although this never came to pass, both winners were thrilled with their big wins!Frank Lavatta.JPG

And according to Idaho Lottery Public Information Specialist David Workman, he couldn’t ever recall two winners in the lobby claiming the same prize amount from the same game from two different draws at the same time.  What are the odds?





Mom Wins $5 Million on Ticket She Did Not Intend to Buy

A New Jersey mom won $5 million because a cashier misunderstood her request for a scratch-off ticket.

Oksana Zaharov, 46, asked a clerk at a Manhattan convenience store for a $1 scratch-off


ticket, but instead was given a $10 Set for Life ticket, the New York Lottery announced last week.

“When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it,” Zaharov said in a statement. “I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it.”

The mistake turned into millions.

Zaharov will receive her winnings in 19 annual

payments of $260,000, and an additional payment of $60,000. Then, she’ll continue to receive an annual net payment of $172,068 for the rest of her life, according to the lottery.

She told the lottery her children will now have a “loan-free college education,” and a family vacation in the Bahamas.



New Hampshire’s $559.7 million Powerball jackpot winner may be getting ready to claim

the big prize, but remains a mystery as the winner has yet to come forward.
Maura McCann, spokesman for the New Hampshire Lottery, said Sunday that a call came in to the lottery offices late Friday from someone asking about payment options for the grand prize from the Jan. 6 drawing.

The caller did not leave a name; the winner’s identity remains a mystery, McCann said.

The winning ticket was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack.

McCann said the winner will need to have the ticket validated, as is the case for any


jackpot regardless of size, and has up to a year from the drawing date to claim the prize.

“This is how we kind of expected the process to go,” McCann said.

The winner has the option of taking $559.7 million in payments spread over 30 years or a lump-sum cash option of $358.5 million.

The winner also has the option of remaining anonymous, as New Hampshire’s last Powerball jackpot winner did in 2016.

The $487 million jackpot was claimed through a trust known as the Robin Egg 2016 Nominee Trust. The winning ticket was purchased at a Hannaford in Raymond.


Mega Millions: This Florida 20-Year-Old ‘Retired’ After Winning $451 Million Jackpot, Here’s How he Plans to Spend the Money

A 20-year-old Florida man said he hopes to “do some good for humanity” after winning the $451 Mega Millions jackpot. Shane Missler won his prize in early January when he matched five winning numbers and the “Megaball” to claim the fourth largest prize in Mega Millions history.

missler 2

“Oh. My. God,” he wrote on Facebook on January 5 after learning of his win.

He has chosen to claim the prize in a $281.2 million lump sum payout, rather than several payments over a period of years.

He told the Florida Lottery he intends to use his newfound wealth to buy a new home in Tampa, pursue a “variety of passions,” and help others.

“I intend to take care of my family, have some fun along the way, and cement a path for financial success so that I can leave a legacy far into the future,” Missler said in a statement. “I have always been one to encourage the idea of chasing dreams and I believe life is about the pursuit of passion. I am 20 years old and my journey has only just begun.”

Missler, who has “retired” from his job as a background screening worker, said the first person he told about his good fortune shortly after seeing his numbers come up was his brother. The following morning he said he broke the news of the win to his father over a cup of coffee.

The winner told Lottery organizers he believed in the power of a positive thinking and that the win had not come entirely as a surprise. He said he had “a feeling” that he might be fortunate.

“The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated!” he tweeted on January 7.

Missler tweeted a photo of a book by businessman Gary Vaynerchuk which he gives the “thumbs up”, and added: “Young entrepreneur in the making.”

News Around Idaho – February 2018

While traveling between Idaho and Utah for a Foo Fighters concert in mid-December, Eugene Lewis and his wife made a quick travel stop at the Top Stop in Malad.  After freshening up, they purchased a Powerball ticket before continuing on their journey.  Two weeks later, the couple found themselves in Boise collecting on their winning ticket – a ticket which matched four of the first five numbers and the Powerball, plus had the PowerPlay.

When he checked the ticket, Lewis called his wife and said, “What do you win if
IMG_2235 you match four of the first five and the Powerball?”  She replied, “A lot of money! I hope you had the PowerPlay, too!”

He did.  Matching four of the first five numbers wins a player $50,000.  Lewis’ ticket, though had the PowerPlay, which multiplies non-jackpot winning tickets by the number selected for the draw.  On December 13, that number was 3, turning his $50,000 ticket into a $150,000 winner!

Lewis says he plans to invest his winnings for future retirement.  That and he might consider joining a country club to play golf.

Would you carry around $50,000 in your purse for two weeks?  Probably not, but that’s what Powerball winner Barbara Rediker from Boise unknowingly did.

Rediker matched four of the first five IMG_3039numbers and the Powerball on a ticket she purchased for the December 20, 2017 draw at the Big Smoke on Overland.   After her purchase, she tucked the ticket away in her purse until just before New Year’s when she finally checked the ticket.

“It said to claim at Lottery, but I didn’t know for how much,” explained Barbara.  “Then we looked it up online and I saw we’d won $50,000!  I signed the ticket immediately.”

Barbara claimed her prize along with her daughter Kimberly.

“I know, I’ve been carrying around $50,000 in my purse for two weeks,” she said.  “We’re going to put it to good use.”

She checked the ticket last Friday night, but due to work was not able to claim the ticket until today.  She plans to put aside a little for a new house and pay off some bills with her winnings.

For Susan Poole, taking care of others at the sacrifice of herself has been a way of life for IMG_2251many years.  But after years of caring for sick friends and family, this Boise-transplant had her heart of gold rewarded when she claimed the top prize of $50,000 on the Idaho Lottery’s Scratch Game 24 Karat Gold.  Yes, the prize and the game name seem fitting.

After many tears of joy, Susan asked, “Is it real?” when she was handed both her souvenir check and her winner’s check.

And true to her spirit, when asked about her plans for her winnings, she offered she was going to slightly improve her living situation but will definitely use the windfall to help care for others.

Congratulations, Susan!

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