Ticket printing mishap gives player a lucky break
Includes audio report
By Kate Northrop
WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — A mistake that occurred while printing a Mega Millions lottery ticket led to an Iowa man winning a $1 million second-tier prize.
Josh Buster of West Burlington is positive that a clerk's slip-up is the reason why he won $1 million in the Mega Millions drawing on April 15.
The Mega Millions jackpot for the drawing on Fri., April 15 was $20 million, and Buster made sure he bought his tickets in time for the draw.
He stopped at the local MK Mini Mart on East Mount Pleasant Street in West Burlington, where he asked for five Mega Millions Quick Picks. At first, the convenience store employee printed only one play on a single ticket from the lottery terminal and asked Buster if it was fine to print four more plays on another ticket.
"I feel like that changed the numbers that I would have gotten if he had put them all on one instead of making that mistake," Buster told the Iowa Lottery.
The morning after the draw, the restaurant prep chef got up to get ready for work and checked his tickets right before he drove off for the day.
"I got up to go to work early in the morning," the 40-year-old recalled. "I opened up the lottery app and scanned my tickets. I always keep my tickets in the console of my car, and I scanned it in the car and freaked out and ran back inside."
Buster said that he had trouble believing what he was seeing, but it didn't change the fact that one of his Quick Picks had matched five numbers in the Mega Millions drawing on April 15: 4, 17, 20, 46, and 64, just missing the Mega Ball 23. The Megaplier was 4.
Had he hit the Mega Ball number, Buster would have split the $20 million jackpot with another winner from Tennessee. The lump sum cash option was $11.9 million.
"I don't usually have good luck, so I thought it was a mistake and there was going to be an error," he continued. "So I Googled the lottery numbers to make sure I had the right ones, and I did! And then the rest of the day, I'm just waiting to wake up from a dream."
This was no dream. A visit to Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive on Monday to collect his $1 million prize only cemented the reality for him.
Buster is also the second player to win at least a $1 million prize in Iowa this year, and he said he plans on using it to pay off his car and the mortgage on his mother's house. Once that is done, he'll save the rest for retirement.
Federal and state taxes on the $1 million prize come out to be $240,000 and $50,000, respectively, so the winner will walk away with $710,000 in net winnings, according to the Lottery.
"It will take away a lot of stress in my life — no more of the financial worries," he expressed.
While Buster regularly plays the lottery, it never actually crossed his mind that he would win big one day.
"I always wanted to!" he said in a press release. "I never thought I would, though, but I kept playing."
The MK Mini Mart will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket.
The Mega Millions jackpot currently sits at $22 million for the next drawing on Fri., April 22 at 11:00 pm EST.
AUDIO: Listen to the interview