Could there possibly be a downside to such a huge and improbable win?
By Kate Northrop
Someone must have had a really good feeling that five particular numbers were going to be drawn in the Maryland Lottery's Bonus Match 5 game, because they won the top prize on 24 separate tickets purchased from one store.
We don't know yet if it those tickets were purchased by one person or multiple people, but we do know that on Friday, June 12, a total of 24 Bonus Match 5 tickets purchased in one store won the top prize for matching all five numbers: 2, 9, 11, 13, and 17.
Unfortunately this is one of those good news/bad news stories.
It turns out that like most lottery games with a fixed top prize (in this case $50,000), Bonus Match 5 has a prize cap in order to limit the lottery's losses in the case of some freakish win — like this one.
The Bonus Match 5 game offers $50,000 for every ticket to match all five numbers. However, the allotted prize pool, which is $600,000, allows for a maximum of 12 top-prize winners per draw in order to fulfill the top-prize payout of $50,000 per winning ticket.
Once there is more than 12 winners in one drawing, the $600,000 prize pool is split by all the top winners instead of awarding a fixed $50,000 prize per winning ticket.
With a staggering total of 24 winning lottery tickets, the prize payout for each matching line is essentially cut in half, making each top-prize-winning ticket worth $25,000 instead of $50,000. If there was no prize cap, those 24 winning tickets would be worth $1.2 million.
"In the unlikely event more than 12 game boards correctly match five of five winning numbers in a single drawing, each game board matching five of five numbers will receive an equal share of the $600,000 pool," the Maryland Lottery reads on its website.
Since all 24 tickets were sold at a single location, the Spring Ridge Exxon gas station, it is highly likely that all, or most, were bought by the same player, in which case the player would be awarded the full $600,000 prize pool.
Amazingly, it's not the first time this has happened. In 2016, a Baltimore man won the entire $600,000 prize pool when he purchased multiple tickets with identical numbers. He ended up being the sole player to match all five numbers.
The Spring Ridge Exxon convenience store on Spring Ridge Parkway in Frederick will receive $6,000 for selling all 24 winning lottery tickets.
The Maryland Lottery recommends that winners sign the back of their ticket(s) and keeping them in a safe place until claiming their winnings. Players would normally have 182 days to claim their prize, but winners in the June 12 drawing will have 30 days after the state's COVID-19 state of emergency has been lifted. While the lottery claim centers are currently closed, the lottery offers alternatives to claiming a prize.