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Scratcher pays $1 million for Batavia couple

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Twenty-seven-year-old Marquele Tomlin, of Batavia, has been playing the Lottery since he turned 18. The auto shop bodywork expert said he never won more than $50, but kept playing because he thought, “Maybe someday I’d have a day like this.” Tomlin and his girlfriend of eight years, Amber Blackshear, recently claimed a $1,000,000 top prize on the $1,000,000 Double Sided Dollars scratch-off game. Tomlin purchased the couple’s ticket during a quick stop at their local Rite Aid to wire some money to his mother.

“I had a $20 winner that I exchanged for 10 $1 tickets and two $5 tickets,” he said. “I bought the tickets home and we scratched them just standing around the kitchen Island. She ended up with the big one.”

“We brought it back to the store to be sure and even the machine said ‘Big Winner,’” Blackshear said. “I got all excited; maybe too excited because Marquele told me I had to calm down.”

Blackshear, 23, said she believes fate had a hand in the couple’s windfall. “After eight years together, we broke up for awhile. The day we won was our first day back together as a couple.”

The couple opted to receive their prize as a one-time lump sum payment in the amount of $400,000 each. They will each receive a net check totaling $268,720 after required withholdings.

The two plan to use their respective shares of the prize to invest in a house for their growing family, which includes two toddlers. “I’d like one with a pool,” said Blackshear.

When asked what it felt like to be a Lottery Millionaire Tomlin said simply, “Ahhhhhhhhh. We did it!”

Blackshear said the win is a dream come true. “Now we can do anything as individuals or as a family,” she said. “It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

The winning ticket was purchased at Rite Aid at 601 E. Main St. in Batavia.

The New York Lottery contributed $13,874,189 in Lottery Aid to Education to school districts in Genesee County during fiscal year 2016-2017.

jeff saquella

So if you choose a one time lump sum payment they lop off 200,000 right off the top.....then tax you on whats left?.....that's like a double tax...good ol ny state....congrats you two....btw i have a house with a pool that i'm considering putting up for sale soon if your interested

May 4, 2018, 2:46pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

The reduction is probably because the state isn't earning any return on the prize money.

If the prize total is $1 million, it's not really $1 million sitting in a vault. It's more like there is $800,000 in the winner's share of the prize pool (the rest of the prize pool goes to all those with $3 winners and $50 winners), and that money invested over a period of time and so payout grows to $1 million (less taxes, of course). So if you take the lump sum, you're foregoing the return on investment the state would have paid you. The state isn't making any extra money if you take the lump sum you're just losing it (though it's still smarter financially to take the lump sum).

May 4, 2018, 3:08pm Permalink
jeff saquella

Makes sense howard......but they don't need to earn a return....they make way more than they payout with all the losing tickets that are sold.

May 4, 2018, 5:04pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

They need to earn a return if they're going to advertise a million payout. Otherwise, they would have to advertise an $800,000 payout.

If you're not going to take a lump sum payout, how is it fiscally responsible to just let the money sit in some non-interest bearing account? Sure, they could set aside $1 million but it serves nobody's interest to let it sit around losing value (because of inflation (which is also one reason you should take the lump sum payout)) instead of being put to work making more money.

Money not invested is money wasted. It's socially irresponsible. It's not doing anything to add value, create jobs, find inventions, increase productivity or any of the other things money should do to help grow the economy and make everyone better off.

There's no doubt, the point of the lottery is to make money for the state (whether you believe it's going to education or not is another discussion).

They can do that more efficiently when they invest money slated for future payouts. It allows bigger prize pools with less money spent on losing tickets. And that's an important point.

The payout on scratchers ranges from 60 cents to nearly 80 cents on the dollar spent (way, way better than lotto draws) depending on the game. If all prize money had to come merely from the pockets of people buying losing buying tickets, there would be a lot more people buying losing tickets, meaning a lot less fun for game players, meaning fewer tickets sold, meaning fewer winners, meaning fewer tickets sold, and so on, and then everybody loses, including "the schools."

Investing the money on future payouts only makes sense and is the only fiscally responsible thing to do otherwise everybody is worse off.

If you take a lump sum, the lottery skims money off the top because their calculation on payouts is based on the idea of getter that return. The only way the math adds up to make the odds payout for all winning tickets is to either do a time-based payout or pay less on a lump sum. If there wasn't a vig on the lump sum, the vig would be paid by all other game players one way or another make the game, as I said above, less attractive to play.

When the stock market is going really well, I bet the lottery makes more on the money it invests when you don't take a lump sum, which is another reason you should take the lump sum. In most years, if you invest the money yourself, you'll earn all of that extra profit instead of the lottery.

May 4, 2018, 6:06pm Permalink

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