California Lottery Player Fulfils 30-Year Dream With $6 Million Scratchers Win

Thursday October 15th 2020

Jerry Murray of Newcastle, CA has tried his luck with the lottery for over three decades - and the Placer County man has finally achieved his hope of hitting a major prize.

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Murray, a partner in his family electronic parts business, has a routine of purchasing $30 to $40 worth of California Lottery tickets weekly. “I play lottery so every Tuesday and Wednesday night I can go to sleep dreaming of winning, you know,” he said.

Murray buys his tickets at Cigarettes For Less, located at 350 Elm Ave. in Auburn.

One night in July, his dream finally became reality. Murray beat the odds to win a whopping $6 million on a $10 Set for Life Scratchers ticket that definitely lived up to its name.

"Got home, scratched off three losers and then got the Set For Life ticket," he recalled of the life-changing moment. "I don't get overly excited. I called my wife. I said, 'hey let's keep this quiet,'" he told Lottery officials.

No chance of that happening. "She was in an office with nine women and of course started screaming," he recalled.

Next, Murray faced a conundrum about how to collect his amazing win - Lottery offices were shut for in-person claims due to the spread of coronavirus (district offices have since reopened for claims of $600 and up).

"The district offices were all closed, so I couldn't turn it in for a while. So I put it in a safe deposit box. I eventually drove down to the headquarters in Sacramento," Murray said. "There was a super nice lady in the parking lot who worked for the lottery. I ended up asking her, and she said I was able to go to the drop box at the Sacramento district office in Natomas."

Murray chose the cash option of $3.4 million, and a few weeks later, he received a check for the lump sum of $2.5 million after required federal tax withholdings. There are no state taxes withheld in California. The claims process went smoothly, although "a ginormous check coming to you in the mail felt odd to me," he said.

The owner of Cigarettes for Less, Rocky Salhotra, who received a $30,000 bonus for selling the lucky ticket, is glad one of his regulars is the winner. "Every customer who comes, they went, 'I'm so happy someone won it locally,'" he commented. "Especially what we're going through these days, I think that's the best thing for the guy."

“I’m always happy for somebody who gets good luck,” said Darla Pruitt, one of the store's employees.

The windfall has given Murray and his wife peace of mind about their future. "It was relieving to know that I could retire in California,” he said. Before the win they'd planned to sell their house and move somewhere more affordable. “In the last 20 plus years we’ve turned our home into the place we’d like to stay, so this makes it a little easier.”

Beyond that, what are his plans for the money? Murray and his wife have gotten new cars. “My wife bought a Model X Tesla and she just figured out all how to make it play music and dance,” he said. “As for the rest of the money, we are going to invest it.”

For Murray, the best part of the win is being able to give to his family. “This is the funnest part is being able to help people. I have four kids and a grandkid. That’s the fun part,” he said.

There was also one more special item he planned to treat himself to for celebratory drinks. “I am getting a smoothie machine that doubles as a margarita machine like you’d see at a bar. I think I am going to have the California Lottery logo put on it!”

And Murray isn't done winning yet - he's already returned to his decades-long routine of buying Scratchers. "After 30-plus years playing, I'm probably even," he laughed.

Winning Streak Continues for California Lottery Tickets

The Golden State has certainly lived up to its name in a big way recently with some incredible Lottery prizes.

In Northern California, the latest big winners include:

  • Luis Rivera Sanchez won $5 million on a $5 Million Power Payday Scratchers in San Francisco
  • Robert Lucas won $2,171,698 on a Mega Millions ticket in Eureka, Humboldt County
  • Marilyn Burton won $2 million on an Instant Prize Crossword Scratchers in Suisun City, Stanislaus County
  • Deborah Hart won $2 million on an Instant Prize Crossword Scratchers in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County
  • Vannida Sang won $2 million on an Instant Prize Crossword Scratchers in Oakland, Alameda County

Meanwhile in Southern California, two SuperLotto Plus jackpot winners have claimed their prizes just days apart.

National City resident Victor Diaz won a $28 million grand prize on Saturday, May 16, when he matched all the winning numbers: 3, 9, 23, 27, 35 and the Mega number 16. He bought the ticket at 7-Eleven, 1601 East 18th Street in National City, San Diego County.

Another big winner is Ed Willis, who hit a $24 million jackpot on Saturday, July 18 with lucky numbers 16, 30, 37, 39, 43 and the Mega number 16. He picked up the winning ticket at Super Kwik, 4358 West Avenue L in Quartz Hill, Los Angeles County.

SuperLotto is California's biggest draw game, featuring a $7 million starting jackpot that continues growing with every rollover. The game has two weekly draws on Wednesday and Saturday at 7:57 pm PT, and the winning numbers are posted minutes afterwards.

The SuperLotto jackpot is $18 million (estimated cash value: $14,100,000) for the next draw on Saturday, October 17. Get your tickets now for the chance to make your lottery dreams come true.

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