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Montana store sells $3.68M Hot Lotto ticket

Oct 10, 2003, 5:21 am

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Hot Lotto

Horseshoe? Check.

Four-leaf clover? Check.

Rabbit's foot? Got it.

Now it's time to go to the Kwik Way convenience store at 1219 Main St. in the Heights to buy your lottery tickets.

Why? Because the store sold a $110,000 Montana Cash jackpot winner Saturday, then turned around and sold a $3.68 million Hot Lotto winner on Wednesday.

Jo Berg, a spokesman for Montana Lottery in Helena, said a Montana store never has sold winning jackpot tickets on consecutive drawings.

Who won?

"I had a phone call this morning from a gentleman who said he had the ticket," she said Thursday. "He did not give his name, but he said he'd be in Helena Friday."

Store manager David Bullis said the store hasn't seen an increase in business. He said the store usually sells 600 tickets in a week, from which it gets five cents a ticket. Kwik Way gets nothing for selling a winning ticket, he said.

He expects business to pick up. "We had one-in-a-billion odds of doing this, so I'm sure the superstitious will come in to buy tickets," he said.

This is the first Hot Lotto jackpot won in Montana since the game began in 1992. Hot Lotto tickets are sold in Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia. This was also the largest Hot Lotto jackpot ever, Berg said. The winning numbers were 7-8-17-28-35 and Hot Ball of 18.

For Saturday's drawings, the estimated jackpots will be $30,000 for Montana Cash, $1 million for Hot Lotto and a whopping $102 million for Powerball.

When a winner comes forward, he needs to declare if he wants the winnings in cash or an annuity, Berg said. The annuity pays cash out over a period of time, usually between 20 and 30 years. If the winner chooses a cash payment, he gets less. The $3.68 million payout would become $2.2 million, Berg said.

Before the winner even gets his money, Montana Lottery takes out 25 percent for federal taxes and 10 percent for state taxes. "And depending on his personal tax liability, he may have to pay more in taxes," Berg said. "That's why we highly recommend winners see an accountant before they collect their winnings."

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