Fort Worth

Three lottery millionaires in 4 weeks: Is this the luckiest place in Texas?

Several scratch off tickets sold in Fort Worth recently have produced millionaires.
Several scratch off tickets sold in Fort Worth recently have produced millionaires. atinsley@star-telegram.com

Outside the 4 Star Quick Pantry, a new sign is proudly displayed: "We sold a winning ticket!"

Inside, scratch-off lottery tickets have been selling at a fast clip, particularly the $5 Set for Life ticket that earlier this month made a customer a millionaire.

"People are buying a lot of tickets," said Neeraj Khatri, owner of the convenience store where one of several million dollar plus winning tickets recently have been sold locally. "We are seeing new faces, new people.

"They are saying Fort Worth is lucky."

Maybe it is.

Three scratch-off lottery tickets worth between $1 million and $3 million have been sold in Fort Worth in the past four weeks, Texas Lottery records show.

And more than a half dozen winning tickets worth $1 million or more have been claimed by North Texans since Jan. 1.

"I play scratch-offs (usually) ... but with the recent winners lately, it does have me playing a little more," said Ismael Guzman, a 32-year-old Hurst man. "I'm just scared to buy the bigger tickets, even though that's what has been winning.

"But my wife has given me permission to try, lol," he said, noting that he won't spend more than $20 on a ticket.

Some people have been heading to the stores that have sold winning jackpot tickets, hoping the luck will spread to them.

$3 million prize

A Fort Worth resident stopped at QuickTrip #965 earlier this month and bought a winning $750 Million Winner's Circle ticket.

The winner decided to remain anonymous, but walked away from the convenience store at 3201 Golden Triangle Blvd. with the top prize of $3 million.

Workers at the store said they don't know who the winner is, but at least one person has come in asking if the store was the one that sold the big ticket, said Abe Harder, a part-time clerk at the store.

Harder said word of the lucky ticket sold there apparently spread on Facebook.

"This is a big lottery selling store," he said. "Almost everyone who comes in buys one. A lot of people win $500 or $1,000."

Lottery officials announced the winner April 10. He or she spent $30 to buy the winning ticket.

Only one of 12 tickets offering a $3 million payout in that game has been claimed. There also are 2,808 unclaimed $10,000 payout tickets and 5,875 unclaimed $5,000 prize tickets, lottery records show.

$1.9 million jackpot

A Haltom City resident earlier this month claimed the jackpot prize from a $5 Set for Life scratch-off ticket at the 4 Star Quick Pantry #2, 1325 Beach St.

The winner, who chose to remain anonymous, chose the cash value option, which left him or her with a check for $1,999,446.80.

Khatri — who proudly hangs a Star-Telegram article on his door detailing the winning ticket sold at his store — believes the winner is a regular customer.

"His family came in talking about it," he said. "But we don't know for sure. And we haven't seen him since."

One thing is for sure, the $5 Set for Life ticket used to be one of the slowest sellers at his store.

But after the news broke that the ticket made a millionaire out of someone at his store, Khatri said his workers sold two entire rolls of the ticket (about 75 tickets on each roll) in two days.

Overall, sales of scratch-off lottery tickets have spiked between $500 and $1,000 every day since the winning announcement was made.

"People say it's hard to find the right place to buy tickets," Khatri said. "But I definitely think this is a lucky store.

"It's hard to sell a winning ticket. Not everybody can do it."

One man buying scratch-off tickets at the store recently said he didn't choose this store because of the recent winning ticket sold there.

"I was coming here anyway," said the man, who declined to give his name. "What's the chance of lightning striking twice?"

The store is now eligible for a $10,000 retailer bonus for selling a jackpot ticket, the Lottery Commission announced.

Khatri said he's considering giving each of his employees a $1,000 bonus, to share in the bonanza.

Lottery officials announced this winner April 9. The winning ticket cost $5.

Three of the four top prizes offering 20 years of cash in this game have been claimed. There are still 10 $10,000 prizes unclaimed and 88 unclaimed $1,000 prizes.

$1 million win

Last month, a Fort Worth resident claimed a $1 million prize from cashing in a $1,000,000 Big Money scratch-off ticket sold at the 7-Eleven at 6100 S. Hulen St.

This resident also chose to remain anonymous.

Store workers couldn't say whether they knew who the winner was because they said they are not allowed to talk to the media.

What is known is that the person spent $20 on the winning ticket. And this ticket is the largest scratch-off ticket in the country, at the size of 144 square inches.

Officials announced the winner March 15.

There are six $1 million tickets in this game. Only two have been claimed, lottery records show. There also are 14 unclaimed tickets offering a $10,000 prize and 42 unclaimed $1,000 prize tickets.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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