Winner winner: Virginia man goes out for chicken, wins $500,000

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner – literally.

A Virginia man recently went to the grocery store to pick up some chicken – and came back half a million dollars richer.

Russell Gomes, of South Boston, Virginia, went to the Food Lion grocery store recently to buy chicken, he told the Virginia Lottery’s website. 

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South Boston is located in southern Virginia, about 20 miles north of the North Carolina border. 

While he was shopping, he decided to buy a scratch-off ticket – specifically, the Virginia Lottery’s “Magnificent 7s” scratcher.

Gomes, a tractor-trailer driver, went to scratch off his ticket in the store’s parking lot – and got the surprise of a lifetime.

 “I really didn’t believe it!” he told Lottery officials when he redeemed his winning ticket on May 3. “It feels great!

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Gomes told the Virginia Lottery that he plans on using his winnings to pay off a vacation that he had already scheduled. 

Magnificent 7s, the game Gomes played, has prizes ranging from $20 to $500,000, said the Virginia Lottery.

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There are two additional $500,000 top prizes that have not been claimed, they said.

The Virginia Lottery was established in 1987, after Virginians voted in favor of creating a state-operated lottery. 

The first tickets were sold the following year, said the Virginia Lottery’s website.

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Since 1999, the Virginia Lottery’s profits have supported K-12 public education in the commonwealth, said its website.

In 2023, this amounted to more than $867 million that went to public education in the state. 

school bus

This was about 10% of the commonwealth’s budget for K-12 schools, said the Virginia Lottery’s website. 

These funds are distributed throughout Virginia’s counties. 

Gomes lives in Halifax County, noted the Virginia Lottery’s website, which received “more than $4.4 million in Lottery funds for K-12 education last fiscal year.”

During the 2023 fiscal year, the Virginia Lottery had sales of $4.6 billion. 

Of those sales, more than $3.5 billion was distributed to lottery winners and the retailers who sold the winning tickets, said the lottery’s website.   

Read the full article here

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