Gaithersburg Dad Puts Toddler to Bed, Wins $50,000 Lottery Prize

“Mr. Jackpots” of Gaithersburg got a charge out of being the first person to win a $50,000 top prize on the $5 FAST PLAY game Lightning Cash.

Windfall going to pay down his college loans, set aside for his children’s education fund

For a Maryland Lottery player in Montgomery County, the daily anticipation of relaxing while checking his tickets is the main appeal of playing. Winning $50,000 on a FAST PLAY ticket was even better.

“This win is amazing, but I get so much out of the experience of playing and relaxing at the end of the day,” said “Mr. Jackpots,” who is using a pseudonym both to tell his winning story and to give an oblique shout-out to one of his favorite TV shows, “Twin Peaks.”

Unlike the “Twin Peaks” character, who is able to identify which slot machine in a casino will pay out, the “Mr. Jackpots” from Gaithersburg has never had a big score before.

“I love to play, but this was my first really big win through the Maryland Lottery,” he said. Earlier in his life, he used to be a casino guy who enjoyed trips to Las Vegas, but lately the father of a toddler with another baby on the way has come to enjoy the simple thrills of daily Lottery play.

On his way to work, he typically stops at the Liberty gas station at 26241 Ridge Road in Damascus and buys $10 or $20 in tickets, mostly FAST PLAY games. He stashes the tickets away and then occasionally lets his mind wander to thoughts of winning throughout the day.

He prefers the Damascus Liberty because he has gotten to know its staff and customers. He enjoys the social aspects of getting tickets at that location.

“The store is awesome. The people are great. I drive an electric car, but I love to go there,” he said.

At the end of each day, after his toddler is in bed, he relaxes and checks the tickets he bought earlier in the day. Sometimes he wins a few dollars, sometimes nothing. But on May 18, things were different.

That morning, he bought four of the $5 FAST PLAY game Lightning Cash. A ticket with at least 15 lightning bolt symbols in the play area is a winner. On the first ticket that “Mr. Jackpots” checked, he had 15 bolts for a $10 win. The next two tickets didn’t measure up. Then, he glanced at the last ticket and noticed it seemed to have more lightning bolts than any of the previous tickets. He counted them, and double-checked: 22 lightning bolts for a $50,000 top-prize win.

That evening, his mother-in-law was staying with the family, and he asked her to check the ticket again. She confirmed the win. Then, he gathered up the $10 winner, a non-winner and the big winner and asked his wife to check all three. After checking the first two, she was increasingly uninterested, but then she counted the bolts on the third and said, “Oh my God!”

“Mr. Jackpots” says most of the winnings will go to pay down his student loans and set up education funds for his kids. A small family vacation is also a possibility.

Pleased about winning, “Mr. Jackpots” said he also got a little charge because his ticket was the first of 15 top-tier prizes on the Lightning Cash game. “That made it extra cool,” he said.

In addition to earning “Mr. Jackpots’” strong recommendation, Damascus Liberty also receives a bonus of $500, equal to 1% of the prize.