Call it a million-dollar tri-fecta.
For the third time in less than a week, a lottery ticket worth $1 million or more was sold in Minnesota.
The latest winner came Saturday, Dec. 21, when Christmas came early for a customer of Big Lake’s Market Place Express.
Market Place Express, located on the east side of Big Lake and across Highway 10 from El Loro and The Friendly Buffalo, sold a winning $1 million Powerball ticket Saturday, Dec. 21.
The winning ticket came less than a week after a $1.6 million Gopher 5 jackpot win in Hermantown and a $1 million Powerball win in Mankato, according to the Minnesota State Lottery.
The Lottery announced Monday that the $1 million streak continued with the ticket sold at Market Place Express.
The winning lottery ticket was all the buzz Monday at Market Place Express, said Jeanne Benson, manager of the Big Lake gas station and convenience store.
“Is it true! Is it true!”
That was the number one response from customers who came into the store Monday afternoon after Benson started her shift.
Benson says she was working on Dec. 21, the day the ticket was sold.
“Maybe I sold it,” Benson said.
No matter who sold the ticket, Benson and the rest of the Market Place Express staff are hoping the winner will share some Christmas spirit- and a portion of the lottery proceeds, she said.
Benson said lottery tickets and electronic games like Gopher 5 and the Powerball sell good at Market Place Express and the store has seen its share of winners.
But in Benson’s five years working at the store, there has never been a winner like the one announced Monday.
“By far it’s our biggest winner,” she said.
The Market Place Express winner, who as of late Monday afternoon hadn’t yet come forward to claim the prize, matched the first five numbers drawn on Dec. 21 but not the Powerball. Those five numbers were 19-31-35-50-67.
Odds of hitting all five numbers were 1 in 1,533,939, according to lottery officials.
Had the winner matched the Powerball number of 14, the winning prize would have been $171 million, or a cash payout of $116 million, according to lottery officials.
Market Place Express earned a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Like the ticket sold in Big Lake, neither the $1 million winning Powerball ticket purchased in Mankato for the Dec. 18 drawing and the $1.6 million winning Gopher 5 ticket purchased in Hermantown for the Dec. 16 drawing had yet to be claimed as of Monday afternoon, Lottery officials said. Winners have one year from the date of the drawing to claim lotto game prizes.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org