$1 Million Prize is Latest "Buffaluck" Win in Western New York

Thursday February 13th 2020

Although there's still snow on the ground, the recent "Buffaluck" hot streak of lottery prizes in Western New York State shows no sign of letting up, as a $1 million prize was claimed on Wednesday.

Next Estimated Jackpot:
$199 Million
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It was the fourth big win in the region since Friday, February 7.

This may have been the best birthday ever for Nichole Williams, after a friend gave her the winning scratch-off ticket as a gift. Williams, of Knowlesville in Orleans County, hit the jackpot on the Triple Double 777 Red Hot ticket.

The winning ticket was sold at Crosby's, a gas station and convenience store at 64 Main Street in Elba. Williams chose the cash lump sum option and received $537,000 after tax withholdings.

"It really feels good to win a lottery jackpot," Williams said as she was presented with a check by the New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega.

It could have been beginner's luck, since Williams says she's only ever played scratch-offs twice before. "I just kept on going and once I finished it, I just scratched the prize after," she said.

When she saw the message, Jackpot - $1 million, "I just flipped the card over and over for 20 minutes until my husband asked me what I was doing," Williams said. After revealing the win, she called her dad, who's a dedicated lottery player but has never won.

Williams offered some of the money to the friend who gave her the ticket, but "they told me 'absolutely not.' All they wanted me to do was take care of my family and my children," she said.

Williams had been battling cancer and only recently learned that she is free of the disease. She will use her prize to pay off medical debts, and also plans to buy a camper and take her kids on a road trip. The remaining funds will go into savings for her children's college education.

The win was "definitely a huge weight lifted off my shoulders," she said.

She has no plans to quit her job at a nursing home in Medina, saying she loves it too much to give it up.

Williams is the fifth New York player to win a prize of $1 million or above in 2020, and undoubtedly there are more big wins to come. There are still two unclaimed prizes in the Triple Double 777 Red Hot scratch-off game, and the New York Lottery is urging players to check their tickets.

Latest Win is Fourth Buffaluck Prize

The area known for hot Buffalo wings is now also remarkable for cold, hard cash prizes. Three other recent large lottery prizes have contributed to the "Buffaluck" phenomenon over the past few days.

A $3 million Mega Millions ticket was purchased in Cheektowaga at the Corner Market at 2323 Broadway, near Harlem Road. The ticket won the game's "Match 5" second prize by matching all five main numbers in the February 7 drawing.

Normally that prize is worth $1 million. However, the winner added the Megaplier option when purchasing the ticket, so the prize tripled in value to $3 million, because the Megaplier number drawn on Friday was 3X.

Fnu Lipika of the Corner Market said she learned of the win when a customer told her, "you're on the news because you sold a big ticket." Initially Lipika didn't believe it and thought a prank was being played on her.

However, the Corner Market does have a track record of big winners. Just last year a million-dollar scratch-off was sold there, and a $2 ticket won $20,000.

The other two big Buffaluck winners were both Take-5 tickets. A ticket worth $31,617 was sold in Buffalo at a Tops on Harlem Road, and another ticket worth nearly $18,000 was sold at Consumer's Beverages at 81 Young Street in Tonawanda.

"Customers came in and apparently saw it on other outlets and made comments that we sold the ticket," said Tony of Consumer's. Locals are excited, but Tony says it's more or less business as usual for the store: "it's a pretty normal routine around here."

The biggest jackpot won in Western New York was claimed last year. David Yax, of North Evans in Erie County, won the $80 million Powerball jackpot in the September 4, 2019 drawing. He chose the lump sum payment, which was nearly $38.5 million after taxes. Yax and his wife Claudia said they planned to travel, and Mr. Yax also had his eye on building a "nice woodworking shop."

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