Third jackpot winner since 2000 purchased lucky ticket good for $72 million
The mysterious good luck of Lichine's Liquor and Deli continues to grow.
Since 2000, the California State Lottery machines at Lichine's have spit out SuperLotto Plus jackpots three times — most recently on Saturday.
The lucky ticket over the weekend is good for $72 million. The holder of the ticket had not yet come forward on Monday.
But the jackpot is enough to get some people thinking there's something special about the little liquor store at South Land Park Drive and Florin Road.
"It's eerie," said customer Ed Robben. "I don't know why it happens over and over and over."
Outwardly, there didn't seem to be anything particularly spooky Monday at Lichine's. Customers kibitzed with one another over the big win, and it was all smiles on the faces of Lichine's owners, the Lo siblings.
Brothers Chon and Kien Lo grinned while manning the two busy lotto machines. Sister Chrystal Lo joked while she worked behind the deli counter.
Lichine's is a neighborhood hangout where regulars come every day to have a sandwich, buy some beer and grab a handful of scratch-off tickets. The Lo family has owned the store since 1989.
What are the odds that one retailer would have three big SuperLotto Plus winners? State Lottery spokesman Rob McAndrews didn't know.
"I'm not a statistician," he said. "Obviously, the odds are very, very high."
The odds of winning a jackpot are miserable. Players stand a 1-in-41 million chance of hitting the big one.
The only way McAndrews could explain the run of luck for Lichine's is by noting that a reputation for being "lucky" means more players would come to a store — thus increasing the chance a winner will be chosen.
"Other than that, it's Lady Luck," he said.
Besides Lichine's, other lucky outlets are a market in Port Hueneme, Ventura County, with six winners, and a country store in Baker, San Bernardino County, with five winners.
In one fell swoop, Lichine's made a hefty profit. With the SuperLotto Plus drawing Saturday, the store not only pads its reputation as the hottest Lotto spot in town, but the Lo family gets $360,000 for selling the winning ticket.
To make that the old-fashioned way, Chon and Kien Lo would have to sell a lot of $8.29 six-packs of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Chrystal Lo would have to assemble a mountain of $4.75 turkey sandwiches.
In January 2000, Sacramentan Gordon Quan won a $15 million jackpot on a ticket he bought there. Lightning struck again last year when customer Tchaka Muhammed had one of two winning tickets for a $9 million jackpot.
"The reputation is real good, because everybody is winning here," said lotto player Everett Whiteside, a 72-year-old retired state worker and Pocket resident. Kien Lo, 42, said the latest win obviously dwarfs Lichine's other two big wins.
According to lottery records, his store is the only retail outlet in Sacramento with three SuperLotto Plus winning tickets sold.
There's no special aura about Lichine's, Kien Lo said. It's just the way things have played out.
He said first winner Quan, a regular, came to the store, winked at the Lo owners, but stayed quiet. Muhammed didn't know he had won when he came to Lichine's.
"I personally checked his ticket and told him he had won," said Kien Lo. "He was surprised."
A winner has 180 days to come forward from the day of the drawing. The largest single-winner ticket was $141 million by a San Jose man in 2001.
The ticket drawn Saturday and purchased at Lichine's appears to be the largest single-winning SuperLotto Plus ticket in Sacramento history. A Sacramento winner in the late 1990s shared a ticket worth $99 million.