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Cedar Rapids Couple Win Lottery Prize Of $25,000 A Year For Life

Chuck and Sherry Thomas Are Iowa's 13th Big Winners in Lucky For Life®

Chuck Thomas

CLIVE, Iowa — A Cedar Rapids man bought a lottery ticket he normally wouldn't have and won a prize of $25,000 a year for life.

Chuck Thomas, 60, matched the first five numbers but missed the Lucky Ball in the Nov. 4, 2021 Lucky for Life drawing the game's second prize of $25,000 a year for life.

Thomas said his good fortune came after a happy accident. He'd originally bought a ticket on Wednesday for the Thursday, Nov. 4 drawing, but didn't realize the Lucky for Life game had switched earlier in the year to daily drawings instead of twice-weekly drawings. That meant his original ticket was for the Wednesday drawing instead of the Thursday drawing that he intended.

"I was driving past the store and thought, 'Well, maybe I shouldn't buy another ticket since I already bought two for the week," he told officials on Wednesday as he and his wife, Sherry, claimed the prize at lottery headquarters in Clive. "I decided I better go in and buy the ticket anyhow."

That extra ticket proved to be the big winner. He purchased the winning easy-pick ticket at Casey's, 641 Edgewood Road NW in Cedar Rapids. He and his wife checked it after the drawing by scanning it with the Iowa Lottery mobile app.

"We were going to wait until the next morning to check the ticket," Chuck Thomas said. "But I couldn't sleep so I came back out and said, 'Well, we'll go ahead and scan it and see what happened.' And so she scanned the ticket and there it was."

Both he and his wife were in disbelief.

"We had just ordered carpet," Sherry Thomas, 55, said with a laugh. "I'm like, 'Darn, I could've got wood floors!'"

Their prize is the 13th big win by Iowa players in the game since it debuted in January 2016 in the state.

Lucky for Life is a $2 game with drawings each night. 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 would prefer that rather than lifetime annuity payments.

The Thomases said they purposely waited to claim the prize until they had a plan in place for their winnings, knowing they had until November 2022 to claim the prize.

"We were trying to figure out what to do with the money," Chuck Thomas said. "We checked with our financial person and talked to him and figured out what to do."

The couple chose to receive their winnings in a lump-sum payment of $390,000. They said they were thinking about buying a hot tub with some of their winnings, but they plan to save and invest most of their winnings with an eye toward retirement.

"Hopefully, this will make our retirement a lot easier," Chuck Thomas said.

The winning numbers in the Nov. 4, 2021 Lucky for Life drawing were: 6-9-12-23-41 and Lucky Ball 8. Casey's received a $500 bonus from the lottery for selling the winning ticket.

Players in Lucky for Life choose five numbers from a pool of 48 for the white balls and 1 out of 18 numbers for the Lucky Ball. Players can win the game'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. Other prize levels in the game range from $3 up to $5,000.

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