World

Man wins $37k a year for life due to lottery printing error


A lottery winner has cashed in a windfall of almost $600,000 thanks to a printing mistake by the store attendant who sold him the ticket.

Michael Sopejstal, from the US state of Illinois, took a short trip across the border to Michigan to eat at one of his favourite restaurants in September.

The 60-year-old makes the journey a few times a year and typically buys a few lottery tickets at service stations along the way, according to the Michigan State Lottery.

“I come to Michigan every few weeks to eat at my favourite restaurant, and I always get a Lucky for Life ticket for 10 or 20 draws while I’m here,” Mr Sopejstal explained to lottery officials.

But when he tried to do just that for the Lucky For Life draw on September 17, the store attendant at GoLo gas station in New Buffalo, on the banks of Lake Michigan, seemingly misunderstood him.

“I asked the retailer for a ticket for 10 draws, but he accidentally printed a ticket with 10 lines for one draw, but I told him I still wanted it,” Mr Sopejstal said.

The attendant’s simple mistake turned out to be the key to Mr Sopejstal’s windfall.

He checked his ticket on the morning after the draw and discovered he’d won big — US$25,000 (A$37,000) each year for life – after matching the numbers 11-15-17-24-48.

He missed out on the final number, 04, which would have scored him the jackpot in the game, US$1,000 (A$1500) each day for life.

Mr Sopejstal said his mind immediately started racing with ideas about what to do with his new cash.

“I immediately started thinking about all the things I could do with the money and whether I wanted to take the lump sum or annuity option,” he recalled.

“It was an amazing feeling.”

Mr Sopejstal ultimately opted for the lump sum option, which totalled US$390,000 (A$590,000) after tax.


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