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Press release

October 4, 2012

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October, 2012 | Winners Stories | Northern California

Bay Area Woman “Strikes it Rich” in Most Unusual Way


Valerie Hartzell

SACRAMENTO – We typically read stories about Lottery winners who hit it big by buying a lucky ticket. That’s not what happened to Valerie Hartzell. The woman from Bay Point (Contra Costa County) had to get stuck with a losing ticket in order to find her fortune. Hartzell won $250,000 by entering the California Lottery’s 2nd Chance program. That’s where players submit codes from their non-winning tickets to enter a drawing for additional chances to win. Boy did she!

Hartzell won 80 Strike it Rich! Scratchers® tickets in a special Lottery promotion that was being held in addition to our traditional 2nd Chance drawings. Hartzell doesn’t remember how many non-winning tickets she had submitted in the campaign, but she knows exactly which of the 80 tickets in her prize pack landed her the top prize. It was ticket number five. “I scratched it, then I had to keep looking at it … back and forth. Is this right?” Valerie remembers asking herself. She was alone in her kitchen when she discovered her big win and rushed to tell her family. “My hands were shaking like a leaf,” Hartzell said. “I called my son and he was like, ‘Mom, you’re gonna have a heart attack.’”

Having to wait until the next day to claim her ticket at a Lottery District Office became a gut-wrenching experience. “It was very difficult to go to sleep,” Hartzell said. “I didn’t want something to happen to it.”

Hartzell said she has been entering her non-winning tickets into the 2nd Chance drawings for the last three years. She was happy enough winning the pack of tickets. “I didn’t even think this would happen,” said Hartzell, who is now longing for the moment she and her husband can replace their much older cars. “It shows it does work,” said Hartzell about the possibility of winning a 2nd Chance prize. “Something like this was unbelievable. My daughter tells me, ‘My life is looking up.’”

The California Lottery’s Strike It Rich! Scratchers ticket is part of the Lottery’s continued effort to give out more prizes, to create more winners and earn more money for education. The oversized gold and red ticket offers overall odds of winning of 1 in 4.73. Players can win a top prize of $250,000! This ticket offers 18 chances to win, and two win all features. Prizes start at $10 and go up to $250,000. Odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 1.2 million.

Though the particular Summer promotion in which Hartzell won her lucky prize pack has ended, our traditional 2nd Chance Programs are ongoing. Players may submit non-winning Scratchers tickets and Fantasy 5 Bonus Bucks entry codes into our 2nd Chance Programs for more chances to win.

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: October, 2012 | Winners Stories | Northern California