Man Accidentally Plays Wrong Lottery Game And Wins $14.3 Million

Winning the lottery is all about luck — or is it about accidentally buying a ticket thinking it’s one game instead of another? Either way, one Wisconsin man won the $14.3 million Megabucks pot, but was oblivious to his windfall for three days.

The employees of the gas station where the winning ticket was sold wondered about who had scored the big payday, says the Wisconsin State Journal, and hoped it was one of their regulars, Napolean, a veteran in need of a kidney transplant.

Employees say they even asked him if he was the big winner, and Napolean said it wasn’t. But as no one claimed the ticket, workers pressed him again, and it turns out that he had been looking at the wrong day’s results.

Beyond that, he didn’t even mean to buy a Megabucks ticket, but had let a customer go in front of him.

“I think it was a mistake because I was trying to play the Powerball,” he told the paper.

He found the ticket at home and brought it into the lottery office, where they were confused as most people who show up already know they’ve won. He’s opting for a $10.2 million lump sum, or $6.87 million after taxes. He says he’ll take care of health insurance first and then move to his warmer home state of Texas.

Local Megabucks winner almost didn’t claim his $14.3 million prize [Wisconsin State Journal]


Edit Your Comment

  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    Too bad he didn’t win in 2010… he could have deducted the cost of every other lottery ticket… not that it’ll matter much after paying $3.5 million in taxes…

  2. ret3 says:

    Looks like he’s opted to spend his winnings on electricity to power his A/C rather than on heating oil to keep from freezing.

  3. Portlandia says:

    Suddenly, my story doesn’t sound as exciting. The BF and I went to a film festival Saturday night and as we sat down two ladies handed us a couple raffle tickets and said, “good luck” because they couldn’t stay for the final drawings. They called out a ticket number for the grand prize but I didn’t recognize it. They called it out two more times were about to pick another before I realized I was holding the winning ticket. We ended up winning a blue-ray play. Like I said, not as exciting but it was exciting none the less.

  4. dolemite says:

    Too bad $ doesn’t move you up the transplant list (well, unless you have Steve Jobs money).

  5. Coffee Fiend says:

    I always play 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 as the mega number.

  6. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    My grandpa won the Megabucks 20 years ago when the gas station clerk printed the wrong ticket for the person ahead of him in line. The person in front of him in line didn’t want the Megabucks ticket, so my grandpa bought it instead. He won $2million and they just got the final annuity check a couple years ago.

  7. some.nerd says:

    What a lucky sonnofagun! It’s my life-long dream to win the lottery. Then, after buying my solid gold house and rocket car, I’d finally be able to afford that elusive Jurassic Park pinball table…

    • Dave on bass says:

      Dammit, now you’ve got me thinking about pinball.

      As pinball machines go, JP’s not bad at all in price. You can probably get one for $1200-1500 in decent shape (compared to the Williams machines of the same vintage, which all seem to command over 2 grand, sometimes 3, these days) – but chances are somewhat good that the T-rex will need some work to eat the ball as it’s supposed to. For a table layout that mimics Addams Family, the most popular pin of all time (and part of the 3 grand crowd), it’s a bargain and a half.

  8. silenuswise says:

    Okay, I’m going to be “that guy”: how is this story worthy of the Consumerist? Especially now, after having been acquired by Consumer Reports, I’m surprised this kind of tabloid junk gets posted here. Cute stories about winning the lottery I expect from the local news–if anything, I expect a website interested in protecting consumer interests to shine a critical light on lottery stories, and state lottery systems in general.

    Is it because Popken is gone that this kind of junk is allowed to be posted?

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      feel-good (flgd)
      Characterized by or designed to encourage a feeling of often superficial happiness or satisfaction: “Everything about Fassbinder ran contrary to Hollywood notions of feel-good entertainment” (Edward Guthmann).
      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company . All rights reserved.

      causing or characterized by a feeling of self-satisfaction feel-good factor
      Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    • JennQPublic says:

      “Especially now, after having been acquired by Consumer Reports…”

      Umm, didn’t that happen three years ago?

  9. Buckus says:

    Not sure if 6.87 Million is enough to buy a kidney on the black market, though…

    Coming soon on Consumerist: I paid $5 million for a kidney, but it’s broken and I can’t return it because I don’t have a receipt.

    • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

      Clearly the consumer is at fault for not getting a receipt and not paying with a credit card. They could have easily initiated a chargeback and gotten their $5 million back.

      Also they clearly shouldn’t have thrown it away with the medical waste after it was taken back out – how can you expect to get your money back if you don’t return the product???

      • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

        And just so nobody else can say it: I make my own kidneys at home and save $2.5 million on each transplant.

  10. Sean says:

    It would be even more lucky if I won considering I don’t pay the idiot tax, I mean lottery.

  11. scoosdad says:

    So the advertised winning amount is $14.3 million, but if he takes it as a lum-sum, it’s only $10.2 million before taxes? I hope that information is clearly worded on the advertising and the tickets somewhere. (I know, it’s probably a 20-year payout annuity value, but still…)

    • scoosdad says:


      Can I buy an edit button for $6.87 million?

    • What‚Äôs your problem, Kazanski? says:

      The lump sum takes into account the present value of the total payout of 14.3 in the predetermined time frame of the annuity. Basically 14.3 million in 20 years paid out periodically is worth the same as 10.2 million right this second. It assumes a person will invest the 10.2 million and withdraw it as an annuity themselves and it’s all based on current interest rates. It’s actually better to take the lump sum when interest rates are low than when they’re higher.

  12. RulesLawyer says:

    If you’ve got $6.87 million, does health insurance make sense instead of self-insuring?

  13. wordsmithy says:

    “a veteran in need of a kidney transplant.”

    “He says he’ll take care of health insurance first and then move to his warmer home state of Texas.”

    Good luck finding private insurance with that kind of a pre-existing condition.

    • Cacao says:

      Wouldn’t a VA hospital give him a transplant?

      • Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

        VA won’t help unless his kidney disease was caused by his military service.

        A vet without health insurance is just about as screwed as every other uninsured American.

        Ironically, those guys in the countries America defeated 60+ years ago: they’ve all got universal medical care now.

  14. make7acs says:

    Lol @ 14 Mil turning into 6.8Mil.

    Not even half of what you won.