— -- It’s truly hard to believe: a man accidentally won the same lottery twice for a payout of $546,000.
Kenneth J. Stokes, of Norwood, Mass., is a lottery season ticket holder, which automatically enters him into every drawing of a certain lottery with specific, pre-set numbers of his choosing.
Forgetting that his family had gifted him a season pass to the Massachusetts State Lottery Lucky for Life drawing with their lucky numbers, Stokes bought a second ticket with the exact same numbers on Monday.
Then, he got a fateful call from the lotto officials on Tuesday morning.
“The representative called the individual who was the owner of the season ticket and informed him of that and then he was obviously elated to find out that he had won on that ticket,” Massachusetts State Lottery director of communications Christian Teja told ABC News. “They hung up and he realized that he had purchased the same ticket on his own for that same drawing. During the phone call when they had spoken, the representative had mentioned there was another winner form Norwood. He called back and it all came together when he was like, ‘I’m that guy in Norwood.’”
Stokes brought in his winning tickets on Thursday morning to collect his prize. He had won $25,000 a year for up to 20 years, which equals a $500,000 maximum. Stokes opted for a one-time cash option payment, which brought the prize down to $390,000 pre-tax, or $273,000 after tax. For Stokes, however, his winnings were doubled to $546,000.
The odds of Stokes winning twice in one drawing are one in 985,517. He plans to use the winnings to pay for his son’s college tuition and his daughter’s remaining car payments, as well as take his family on a vacation.
“I saw him yesterday. He was certainly in a good mood with a big smile on his face, as you can imagine,” Teja said. “He’s still somewhat in disbelief but very appreciative of his good fortune.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the odds of winning the lottery were in fact 985,517 to one because Stokes picked the same numbers for his two lottery tickets. The odds would have been 9.7 trillion to one if he had picked different numbers for the two tickets.