An Iowa City grandfather who claimed a prize of $25,000 a year for life says a fortune cookie predicted his big lottery win.
Charles “Chuck” Svatos said he bought a fortune cookie while he was at a Quad Cities casino last month and the message inside the cookie said, “You will discover an unexpected treasure.”
Svatos, a retired dairy production worker, claims the “treasure” the fortune cookie spoke of was his lottery prize of $25,000 a year for life he won in the Sept. 25 Lucky for Life® drawing. He still carries his fortune from that cookie with him in his wallet and shared it with lottery employees on Tuesday, October 3, as he claimed his prize at the Iowa Lottery’s headquarters.
“It’s hard to believe a fortune cookie, you can never believe them most of the time,” Svatos said.
Svatos’ ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Lucky Ball in that drawing to win the game’s second prize of $25,000 a year for life. He bought his winning ticket at Gasby’s, 1 Hawkeye Drive in North Liberty, a convenience store he stops at most Sundays for coffee and to buy lottery tickets. Gasby’s will receive a $500 bonus from the lottery for selling the winning ticket at one of its stores.
The winning numbers in that night’s Lucky for Life drawing were: 14-17-19-30-48 and Lucky Ball 4.
He said he found out that he won when he had his ticket checked at Gasby’s about a week after the drawing and kept the news to himself.
“Just the guy that sold me the ticket. He’s the only one that knew,” Svatos said.
Svatos later told his daughter, Doris Baxter of North Liberty, that he won and asked her if she could go with him to claim his prize. She agreed and accompanied her father through the prize claim process at the lottery Tuesday.
Svatos said he always picks his own numbers, but he doesn’t stick to one set of numbers and the numbers he uses are not significant to him.
“I just pick them at random,” he said.
Players can win Lucky for Life’s top prize of $1,000 a day for life by matching all six numbers selected in one of its drawings. The game’s second prize – for matching the first five numbers but missing the Lucky Ball – is $25,000 a year for life. The game’s top two prize levels are described as “lasting as long as you do” meaning that they are truly for life. The minimum guaranteed payout for those two prize levels is 20 years, and there is a lump-sum option for players who prefer that.
Svatos, 92, chose to receive his prize as a lump sum of $390,000. He said he plans to use a portion of his winnings to travel possibly to Hawaii and Switzerland in the future.
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