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Lotto confusion: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

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MUKWONAGO (WITI) -- It's the kind of thing you secretly hope could happen to you. A man finds a discarded lottery ticket in a parking lot and ends up winning $1,000. It all happened at a Mukwonago Mobile station.

"A customer had found a scratch off ticket on the parking lot ground and the only thing that was scratched off on it was the play area which had the three-letter codes and it ended up being a thousand dollar winner," said Michael Bell, the Mukwonago Mobil manager.

Bell says each scratch off ticket comes with a three-letter code, and that code sometimes indicates how much a person has won. A $5 winner would be F-I-V or ten would be T-E-N. But one thing he says many players don't know, is for winning amounts over $600, the codes look random.

"A lot of players don't play the game, a lot of them just are wanting the money they want to take the chances on the gamble, so they know where those codes are so they just scratch those codes," said Bell.

That's why Bell thinks that $1,000 winner was instead treated like trash.

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Lottery tells FOX6 News those three-letter codes were never meant for player use.

"The purpose of the code is really to provide retailers with extra certainty with respect to prizes under $600 since they're paid out by retailers," said Jennifer Western.

Bell said he'd like to see the scratch off tickets make the three-letter code W-I-N for any winner over $600.

Western calls that an interesting idea, but said it's something the lottery would need to look into.



  • Connie

    That’s awesome! Now there is going to be 100 people running in claiming that ticket was theirs….LOL

  • Tanya Taylor

    Well….there’s karma for ya….the person who decided to throw it on the ground instead of throwing it into a garbage can, certainly didn’t deserve the money anyway….I’m so glad it went to the person who decided to pick it up off of the ground instead.

    • Michael R Marolla

      We can safely say this guy only picked up this ticket in hopes that it was a winner, I do the same thing, but I don’t actually touch it I move it around with my foot in order to see if it is a winner, unless this guy was a dirty desperate homeless person, he probably did the same, and only became a “good samaritan”, after noticing it won! People don’t pick up trash in parking lots unless it’s benificial to them, and in this case it paid a grand!

  • Michael R Marolla

    Ive always relied on the codes until I hit the SUPER/WINALL on a Super Millions ticket in which all prizes were $50.00, but after noticing the 3 letter code was a common losing code, FYE, I was confused, I immediately hit a store ran it through a scanner and realized the codes were different on big dollar tickets, I believe they do it in hopes people relying on them will throw high dollar tickets away, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve thrown away any big winners on the puzzle game tickets, now I’ve got to thoroughly check all my losing tickets!

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