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Press release

January 23, 2013

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January, 2013 | Winners Stories | Southern California

Southern California Woman Claims Fantasy 5 Prize Worth Nearly $180,000


Wanda Smith 440

SACRAMENTO – Wanda Smith has been playing the Lottery since 1986. As such, she has a system that works for her and she sticks to it. Part of that is she never checks her tickets until the following morning, and then she only goes to the California Lottery’s website to find the winning numbers. With such dedication, sooner or later Smith had to win big, right?

Sure enough, last Saturday night, Smith’s ticket was one of three that matched all five numbers in the Fantasy 5 draw. Her ticket earned a third of the $537,471 top prize, and yesterday afternoon she dropped by the Lottery’s Van Nuys District Office to claim her $179,157 prize and tell us how she beat the odds.

There were many possible explanations for her good fortune. Could it have been the big brass elephant at the local Lottery retail spot that she rubbed for good luck? Maybe it was the guy who told her if she played a Quick Pick she was sure to win. Or, perhaps it was just her own self-confidence, as she told us “when I checked the numbers, I said to myself ‘if it’s Pasadena, it’s going to be me.’”

And then, when she saw her numbers all match up and the location where the winning ticket was sold, Wanda told us she started dancing and screaming, but soon told herself to calm down. “I didn’t want my neighbors to think someone was attacking me,” she said.

Wanda said she plans to use her winnings to pay bills, help out her daughter and grandchildren, and just live a little more comfortably now.

She purchased her winning ticket at the Vons Grocery located at 655 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. The other two winning tickets from that night, which have yet to be claimed, were sold at MP Gas, which is located at 4169 Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, and Pat’s Liquors, which is located at 1072 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. All three tickets successfully matched the five winning numbers – 25, 24, 23, 8 and 10.

The California Lottery reminds winners to sign the back of their tickets, keep tickets in a safe place and contact Lottery officials or visit their local Lottery District Office as soon as possible. Winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim prizes.

Fantasy 5 offers some of the best odds of any California Lottery game. A player wins the Fantasy 5 jackpot simply by matching five numbers out of a field of 39. Winning numbers are drawn every day. The top prize starts at $50,000 and increases daily until it is hit. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers.

And be sure to participate in the California Lottery’s Fantasy 5 Bonus Bucks promotion. For every purchase of $5 or more of Fantasy 5 on a single ticket you will automatically receive a Fantasy 5 Bonus Bucks code. Enter the code at to participate in weekly draws for a chance to win cash prizes up to $10,000.

And remember, checking the daily draw results is easier than ever. All past and current Lottery draw results can be obtained for FREE by dialing 1-800-LOTTERY and selecting option 2, or via our website at

The mission of the California Lottery is to provide supplemental funding to California schools while simultaneously supporting local communities. More than 94 cents of every dollar spent by our players goes back to local communities in the form of contributions to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly and within their budgets. If you feel you have a gambling problem, or know someone who does, you can get help at 1-800-GAMBLER.

See More Press Releases: January, 2013 | Winners Stories | Southern California