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.