LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Lottery players hope it's a ticket to a new life. With close to $2 billion in lottery sales in 2014 in Kentucky and Indiana, lots of you are hoping to hit the jackpot. Some of them believe you can improve your chances of winning by where you play.
Justin Fluech of Georgetown, Indiana plays the lottery every day and says it isn't a fluke when he wins. Fluech plays only certain games and only at his lucky stores.
"There are certain stores that I've never hit a winner," Fluech said. "Might be lucky for someone else but not lucky for me."
A WAVE 3 News analysis of more than 30,000 winning lottery tickets in Kentucky and Indiana from 2014 found one store in our the paid out more than any other last year. The Thorntons at 2980 Highway 62 East in Jeffersonville shelled out $772,947 in 2014. Nearly all of that went to one man, Steven Hurst, who hit it big in a scratch off game called 50X The Money.
One of Fluech's favorite stores, the Valero at 1702 Allison Lane in Jeffersonville, paid out the second most in Southern Indiana, with $269,991 in winnings. Again, the lion share of that going to one player who won a quarter of a million dollars at a game called Poker Lotto.
But the stores with the most winning tickets overall, are on the Kentucky side of the river. In 2014 the Cork and Bottle at 4350 Cane Run Road cashed 193 winning lottery tickets for $369,579 in prizes. Many of those were Pick 4 winners worth $2,500 to $5,000.
One store sold more winning lottery tickets than any other in the 2014. The Jim Dandy Food Market at 4902 Poplar Level Road cashed a whopping 275 winning lottery ticket worth $532,737. Once again, with lots of Pick 4 winners.
The Kentucky Lottery stripped Jim Dandy of its license to sell lottery tickets in April after an investigation found evidence the owner was buying back winning tickets from players who wanted to avoid taxes. A process known as "discounting."
Despite what the data showed, lottery officials reject the idea that some stores are more lucky than others.
They think there is some secret mojo that exists at that particular retailer that's going to help them win," said Chip Polston, Kentucky Lottery Vice President of Communications. "Is there? Absolutely not."
Polston says the stores that cash the most winning tickets, just sell more tickets than other places. Still, he knows that lottery players are always looking for an edge and when players see one store cashing lots winners, they're going to see a trend whether it's part of the game or not.
"I believe every day is our lucky day," Fluech said.
Overall in 2014, the Hoosier Lottery handed out $99,962,048 in winnings. That's more than twice the Kentucky Lottery's 2014 winnings of $39,589,401.
Polston sent an email to WAVE 3 News outlining his belief for the discrepancy.
- There was a big spread in the amount of Powerball claims per state. IN had approximately $12.1 million in PB claims consisting primarily of two $2 million wins and seven $1 million wins. KY had approximately $3.5 million PB claims consisting primarily of three $1 million wins.
- Indiana has an in-state Lotto game (Hoosier Lotto). KY does not have that type of game. IN saw $18,853,634 in claims for that game.
- If you take into consideration the Hoosier Lotto claims and the difference in large PB wins, IN is more like $20 million which is more in line with our $17 million.
SCRATCH OFF TICKETS:
- IN had scratch off claims of $52,150,626 versus $22,070,482 in KY.
- IN typically has 40 instant games in the field versus 30 in KY.
- IN had 15 instant games that had claims >$1 million (1 had claims > $5 million and 3 had claims >$3 million). KY had 4 instant games that had claims >$1 million.
Polston also said Indiana sells about $200 million more in tickets than Kentucky each year, so he thinks the overall percentage of winning tickets is similar.