DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Cherokee County man is Iowa's newest lottery millionaire and the lottery's seventh $1 million winner in 2010.
Robert Stewart II from Aurelia stopped at a convenience store across from his wife's workplace to pick her up some beverages and decided to purchase the last "Lifetime Riches" instant-scratch game the store had.
"I said, 'What the heck. I'll get the last one that they've got there,'" he said. "Went over and scratched it on their little pedestal and scratched off the numbers at the top. And then the first one I scratched off was one of the matching numbers, [the ticket] said $40K per year. And the only thing I could say was, 'Oh my gosh!'"
The store clerk who sold him the winning ticket asked if she could verify it for him.
"I wasn't going to have them run it, but the gal at the counter asked to run it because she wanted to see what it looked like," he laughed.
Stewart then headed next door to see his wife, Deb, and tell her the good news.
"She was just coming back from checking on her truck and putting it at the loading dock," he said. "And when she got out of the cab I said, 'You need to take the day off!'"
Stewart, the store manager at Game Stop in Storm Lake, stopped by home to pick up his son, Rory, and headed to the Iowa Lottery's headquarters in Des Moines.
Stewart, 41, bought his winning ticket at the One Stop Shop, 1101 N. Lake Ave. in Storm Lake. He claimed his prize Thursday at the Iowa Lottery's headquarters in Des Moines.
Lifetime Riches is a $20 scratch game. When players match any of "your numbers" to any "winning number" in the play area on each ticket, they win the prize shown for that play area. If they find a "star" symbol, they win the prize shown instantly, and if they find the "5X" symbol, they win five times the prize shown for that symbol.
Stewart plans to share the news with family and friends.
"It's hard to keep it quiet when you've got something like this," he chuckled.
He plans to use his winnings to purchase a newer car, pay off their mortgage and invest some of it for the future.
"Trying to figure out what we need to pay off first and how much we're going to have left over," said Stewart. "And how we're going to budget it so that it can stay with an investment counselor while we continue to work."
Stewart claimed the second top prize of $1 million in Lifetime Riches, leaving six $1 million prizes still up for grabs in the game. Players who win the top prize have the option of receiving it in annuitized payments over time or as a one-time, lump-sum payment.
Winners who choose the annuity option will receive $40,000 per year for a period of 25 years. If the winner chooses to receive the lump-sum payment, he/she will receive $650,000 before taxes. Steward chose to receive his prize as a lump-sum payment.
Since the lottery's start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.5 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.2 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans. Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.