Indiana Man Wins Holiday Cash With $500,000 Scratch-Off Lotto Ticket

Posted on December 1, 2020

Christmas came early for one lottery player in southern Indiana.

Todd Willenborg managed to snag a $500,000 top prize from a $500 Grand scratch-off ticket.

$500,000 Hoosier Lottery prize

Willenborg lives in Jeffersonville, Indiana and plays the Hoosier Lottery regularly.

This time around, he was buying some soda along with the ticket that led to his lucky win.

The most Willenborg had ever won before was $500, so winning the top prize came as quite a surprise.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I ran back into the store to make sure that I was reading the ticket right. As soon as I got confirmation from the store clerk, I quickly called one of my best friends and my wife. Both were surprised and couldn’t believe it!”

Willenborg is an ironworker for Ford Motor Company in Louisville, Kentucky.

He says he plans to use the money to pay off his house and buy himself a new car. Not a bad turn around for the price of his $20 winning ticket.

Willenborg ended up with some extra cash heading into the holidays, but he isn’t the only one claiming big prizes this year. The number of big jackpot wins is going up, and scratch-off sales are soaring along with it.

Scratch-off lottery sales increasing in Indiana

Scratch-off sales have been off the charts this year.

Hoosiers spent over $420 million on scratch-offs during just the first third of the state’s budget year.

Accessibility has been the difference maker for the sales increase.

Now that there are self-service machines all around the state, there are more opportunities to buy lottery tickets than ever before.

You can buy lottery tickets inside grocery stores like Walmart in Indiana.

Even local businesses like Garrett’s General Grocery sell lottery tickets now. That’s where Willenborg bought his winning ticket in Jeffersonville.

Stores, self-service kiosks and traditional locations like gas stations have given Hoosiers plenty of lottery options.

That, combined with the pandemic, has made a lot of gamblers play the lottery more often than they typically would.

Many people are weary about heading to casinos in the midst of the health crisis. The large crowds and close quarters can be a deterrent for a lot of gamblers.

For those people, playing the lottery can be a nice alternative, since it gives Hoosiers the option to gamble without dealing with any of the special casino rules and regulations now in place.

That combined with the increased accessibility has made for a record year for the Hoosier Lottery. If things keep continuing at the current rate, the Hoosier Lottery will be on track for a killer fiscal year in 2021.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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