BOISE, Idaho – Christmas came with a little extra stuffing in an American Falls man’s stocking this year, when Robert Bernal discovered he held a jackpot winning ticket from the Christmas Day Wild Card draw. Nicknamed “Peanuts”, he returned home from family Christmas celebrations on Wednesday night and checked all of his draw game tickets.
“I got home and realized it was a Powerball night, so I checked all my tickets, including Wild Card using my phone,” described Peanuts. “At first I saw that I had all the numbers for Wild Card. It wasn’t until I checked it again that I realized I had the Wild Card, too. I didn’t think I was going to sleep at all, but I did pretty well!”
Wild Card is a multi-state jackpot game played in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Peanuts’ jackpot win is Idaho’s 19thsince the game began and third in the past sixteen months.
Peanuts left his home in American Falls first thing and arrived in Boise to claim his prize late in the morning. The ticket he won with was from the Jacksons store in American Falls, and one he purchased by happenstance.
“I started buying ‘mistake’ tickets a few years ago after I won big on an Idaho Pick3 ticket,” explained Peanuts. “I was in the store last Wednesday and there was a Wild-Card multi-draw ‘mistake’ ticket they were trying to sell, so I bought it. That was the winning ticket!”
“Mistake” tickets are quite common, usually being produced in error when a clerk and player miscommunicate on the type of ticket being ordered. All lottery tickets are valid at the time they are printed, but tickets printed in “error” or by “mistake” are the property of the retail store until sold to players.
Bernal claimed a $205,000 jackpot prize winning ticket on Wild Card from the Christmas Day draw. A mechanic for Con-Agra foods in American Falls, he was off work for over a year due to medical issues a few years ago. He’s been back to work for over a year, but still has many medical bills. He plans to pay down those debts and then sweeten Christmas a little late this year for his family.
“It’s a merry Christmas to all and a happy new year, too!” exclaimed Peanuts as he left the Lottery offices to return home.
For their part in selling the winning ticket, Jacksons receives a bonus of $20,000 from the Idaho Lottery.