A man who accidentally bought identical tickets with the same numbers in a Saturday lottery draw has scored two jackpots.
Scotty Thomas's mistake paid off after the 49-year-old dump truck operator, from Fayetteville, ended up winning the draw twice, which meant he was entitled to receiving two lots of US$25,000 (about A$35,000) a year for life.
The man’s winning entries were drawn in the North Carolina Education Lottery on November 27 (local time).
When speaking with lottery officials, the lucky winner said he was in bed watching basketball when he made the life-changing mistake.
Mr Thomas said he couldn’t remember if he initially bought a US$2 (A$2.82) ticket for the Lucky for Life draw, so he went ahead and filled it out again, accidentally buying another one.
“I went ahead and filled it out again, and the next morning my son asked why there were two different amounts listed,” Mr Thomas told lottery officials.
“I realised, 'I think I filled it out twice',” he added.
Eventually, Mr Thomas received two life-changing emails notifying him he had won the jackpot.
‘It’s just a blessing’
“When I realised I won, I had to lay down on the floor because I really just couldn’t believe it,” Mr Thomas said.
“It’s just a blessing.”
When he collected his winnings on Monday, Mr Thomas opted to enjoy his prize in two lump sums of US$390,000 (about A$550,000) each — a total of US$780,000 (about A$1 million).
Mr Thomas took home US$550,000 (about A$774,000) from the sums after federal and state tax withholdings.
The ecstatic winner told lottery officials he planned to invest in his business, pay bills, help his family and possibly buy a house with his windfall.
The 49-year-old bought his two winning tickets online at nclottery.com, where officials say the Lucky for Life draw has a top prize of US$1000 (about A$1400) a day for life.
“The second-biggest prize, (US)$25,000 a year for life, is the prize that Thomas took home. Drawings are now held daily,” a lottery spokesperson said.
Sydney man finds old $1m Lotto ticket in his wallet
Meanwhile a western Sydney man got the surprise of a lifetime after discovering a winning Lotto ticket in his wallet.
The winner had been unknowingly carrying the Saturday Lotto million-dollar ticket around in his wallet since October.
He finally made the life-changing discovery when checking other tickets he had purchased weeks earlier.
“I had no idea I was a millionaire this whole time! It’s crazy,” he laughed.
“I can’t believe we’re millionaires! We’ve been dreaming of this moment."
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