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Kentucky Lottery keeps an eye on frequent winners

Nov 21, 2014, 10:44 am

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Kentucky Lottery

In the last fiscal year, the Kentucky Lottery paid out $495 million, and a lot of them were repeat winners.

One man over a 12-month period cashed 25 tickets worth $77,000.

Lottery officials said one thread runs true when it comes to repeat winners.

"The last few years I've been a little lucky. It's mostly luck, I guess," said one winner, who asked only to be identified as Kevin.

Last month, WLKY's Steve Burgin met up with Kevin at lottery headquarters, where he cashed four winning Pick 3 tickets, each worth $600.

Burgin found Kevin after filing an open records request with the lottery for repeat winners over a one-year period.

The list included thousands of people. 

Kevin, who likes to play at Bowman Field Liquors, had more than 30 winning Pick 3 tickets in that year, collecting about $20,000.

"The secret to folks that win a lot, is they play a lot," said Kentucky Lottery vice president on communications Chip Polston.

Polston said players usually zero in on a particular game.

The twice daily Pick 3 and Pick 4  are among the most popular.

Polston pointed out that repeat winners don't go unnoticed.

He said people might be surprised how much data mining they do.

A single ticket includes a wealth of information.

"And with having all that data, we've got folks in our information security department that mine that data looking basically for anomalies, looking for things that are out of the ordinary," Polston said.

Data on Kevin's winning tickets showed nothing unusual, just that he plays a lot and at two different outlets.

"Probably play anywhere from $10 to $20 a day," he said.

Asked if he plays seven days a week, "Pretty much," he said. "I've come out a little ahead."

Polston said they also turn to a data base when people come in to cash winners.

"We look for back taxes that are owed, back child support, and also bad student loans," Polston said.

According to Polston, since 1992, the lottery has withheld more $2.8 million in back child support.

Through an open records request, WLKY found Friendly Food Mart and Tobacco in Pleasure Ridge Park is the third biggest seller of lottery games in the state.

"For any prize of $601 or more, we are going to give you the tax form and we are going withhold taxes as well, 25 percent federal and 6 percent state is typically what is withheld," said Polston.

The Kentucky Lottery believes the state's young people are the real winners.

Since 1999 more than $2.2 billion has gone to help Kentuckians pursue post-secondary education in the commonwealth.

Top Kentucky Lottery retailers

  • 101 Lotto — Oak Grove
  • Lotto Xpress —  Guthrie
  • Friendly Food Mart & Tobacco — Louisville
  • Dairy Mart #148 — Lexington
  • Skyline Fuel — Hopkinsville
  • Pal's of Oak Grove — Oak Grove
  • Dairy Mart #3282 — Louisville
  • Manny Mart — Radcliff
  • Jim Dandy Food Market — Louisville
  • Better Way Food Mart #4 — Louisville
  • Kroger l-327 — Louisville
  • Kroger l-385 — Louisville
  • Convenient #40 — Shelbyville

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