Stafford Winners: Two Claim Million Dollar Prizes In Virginia Lottery

Written By Martin Harris on July 17, 2020 - Last Updated on August 3, 2022

Summer isn’t even a month old, but it has already been quite the season for Virginia Lottery players from the northern city of Stafford.

Over recent weeks, two people have separately stepped forward to claim seven-figure prizes, and both have similar plans for their winnings.

Woman wins $2,777,777 top prize in Lucky 7s Cash Blowout

Michelle Rivera, of Stafford, bought a Lucky 7s Cash Blowout ticket at a 7-Eleven, winning the maximum prize of $2,777,777.

“I kept saying, ‘I can’t believe I won,'” she said to lottery officials. Eventually, the clerk at the convenience store had to respond to her glee.

“The clerk told me to stop saying, ‘I won’ out loud and to go home,” she said.

According to the Virginia Lottery, Rivera waited four months to claim her prize. She used that time to work out details of what she planned to do with the money. Those plans include paying off debts and buying a house.

Offered a choice between annual payments over 30 years or a one-time cash prize of $1,671,346 before taxes, Rivera chose the 30-year plan.

The Lucky 7s Cash Blowout began in early February and cost $20 to play. The odds for winning the top prize are 1 in 979,200.

Twelve tickets produce $1.2 million windfall in Cash 5 game

More recently, Anya Dennis and her husband purchased 12 tickets for the June 14 drawing in the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 game.

Like Rivera, they also purchased their tickets at a 7-Eleven. They chose the same five numbers for all 12 tickets: 9-13-19-26-29.

Each ticket won the game’s $100,000 top prize, meaning the total winnings added up to $1.2 million.

“I was screaming,” said Dennis to VA Lottery officials of her reaction when her husband phoned her with the good news. “I thought, ‘this cannot be real.'”

The odds of winning the top prize in the twice-daily Cash 5 drawing are 1 in 278,256.

When asked why they had chosen the same numbers for all 12 of their $1 Cash 5 tickets, Dennis said, “We just went out on a limb.”

Like Rivera, Dennis and her husband plan to buy a house with their winnings. They will also use the money to pay for their two daughters’ college tuition.

Mega Millions $1 million winner yet to step forward, online sales now underway in VA

The big wins by Rivera and Dennis come on the heels of several others in the Virginia Lottery.

Wanda Quesenberry, of Meadows of Dan, claimed her $332,986 prize in the Print ‘n Play Rolling Jackpot game in late June. That came shortly after Kenneth Reeves, of Wytheville, redeemed his prize of $1,000 per week for life for picking the winning numbers in the Cash4Life game.

Meanwhile, a player has yet to claim the $1 million prize for the June 23 Mega Millions drawing. The player, who purchased the ticket in Floyd, picked the five winning numbers (minus the Mega Ball).

The rush of winners comes just as the Virginia Lottery began offering the online purchase of lottery tickets on July 1.

Players can now purchase single Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, tickets for instant-win games and electronic versions of scratch games online in Virginia.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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