State employee purchased number of tickets in a wide distribution area
TOPEKA, Ks. — A woman from Topeka who works for the state of Kansas had her "holiday dream" fulfilled Thursday when she discovered she had the winning ticket in the Kansas Lottery's $1 million Holiday Millionaire Raffle.
The woman, whose identity wasn't released, will take home $700,000 after 30 percent of the winnings is withheld for state and federal taxes, said Sally Lunsford, director of communications for the Kansas Lottery. Kansas allows a lottery winner to claim a prize anonymously.
"I can't express my surprise, my great joy — or the difference it will make in our lives," the winner said.
The 61-year-old woman said she studied the strategy used by last year's million-dollar winner — a Wichita resident — and realized she needed to purchase a number of tickets in a wide distribution area. She began buying tickets Oct. 1, the day the Holiday Millionaire raffle opened. She said she signed each ticket and put them in a safe place. She wouldn't disclose the number of tickets she purchased.
On Thursday, she was at work and watching the drawing for the raffle on television. She said she expected to have one or two $500 winning tickets among those she had purchased. But when she checked the winning numbers against a spreadsheet of her ticket numbers, she realized she had hit the jackpot.
"You buy a ticket with the idea you will win," she said.
The woman said she immediately called her husband to tell him the news, then drove to the Kansas Lottery office to claim her winnings.
"I'm taking the rest of the day off," she said.
The woman, who has worked for the state for 33 years, said she would be channel part of the money into her retirement plan and use some of it for traveling with her husband, who is retired.
When asked if she would continue to buy lottery tickets, she answered "of course."
She bought the grand prize ticket at the Dillons Gas Store at 6229 S.W. 29th in Topeka.
In addition to the $1 million ticket, five tickets worth $50,000 each and 500 tickets worth $500 each were drawn Thursday. The $50,000 prizes must be claimed at a lottery office in Topeka or Great Bend, either in person or mail. Prizes of $500 can be claimed at most Kansas Lottery retailers.
The $20 Holiday Millionaire Raffle tickets went on sale Oct. 1 and were sold out by Dec. 27. It was the second year for the raffle.