BOISE, Idaho – On a day associated with luck, Tony Mael of Lewiston found out he was Idaho’s first big winner on the Idaho Lottery’s new draw game Lucky for Life. Mael visited his local Lottery store on St. Patrick’s Day to check his Lucky for Life tickets from the night before.
“Debbie, the manager, came over with the winning numbers and compared them to my ticket,” explained Mael on his morning visit to Liberty Mart in the Orchards of Lewiston. “She saw I’d matched all five of the first numbers and started screaming I’d won the big one! And then I called my wife and she didn’t believe me.”
A hard working, blue collar man who’s worked oil rigs, railroads and road construction, Mael remained in disbelief even after claiming his prize Wednesday in Boise.
“Stuff like this doesn’t happen to me,” said Mael. “I’ve never been lucky in my life until now. I guess I’m lucky for the rest of my life! I wake up and I’m still in shock, like I’m in a dream.”
Mael played the Idaho Lottery’s newest draw game, Lucky for Life. The game debuted on January 27, 2015 and is only played in fifteen jurisdictions nationwide. Draws are Monday and Thursday evenings. Mael’s ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Lucky Ball and his winning ticket became worth $25,000 a year for the rest of his natural life. There is a minimum of twenty-years for payments, but no maximum. He claimed his prize in Boise along with his wife, Tina Mael on Wednesday morning.
“This is the best thing that’s ever happened for our family,” said Tina. “We’re going to pay off some old medical bills and invest for retirement.”
For their part in selling the winning Lucky for Life ticket, Liberty Mart receives a bonus from the Idaho Lottery of $20,000.