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Spokane man who spent 29 years in army wins $5.4 million Lotto jackpot

Winner usually plays his own numbers, but couldn’t find slip he filled out, so he let the computer pick this time…and is REALLY glad he did

Olympia, Wash. (August 18, 2021) – After a 29-year career in the Army, Ken likes his daily routine. When the 59-year-old from Spokane, who now lives a civilian life, walked into the City Food Mart on Ash & 2nd on August 11 like he does most days after work, his routine was normal – get a few things he needed and pick up a couple of HIT5 and Lotto tickets for that night’s drawings using the slip he always fills out ahead of time with a specific set of numbers.

Except that day his routine changed because Ken couldn’t find his slip, so rather than hold up the line of customers, he simply said “Give me a Quick Pick on HIT5.” Almost as an afterthought, he added “Oh, and give me $5 on Lotto, too… Quick Pick.” The rest of his day was back to being routine.

The next day was anything but. That’s when Ken heard that someone had won the $5.4 million jackpot. And that the ticket was sold in Spokane.

“Sometimes when I’ve played before, I’ve thought I’ve won something, but when I double checked the numbers, they were for the drawing the day before or something like that,” he said. “I’ve won $150 before and once won $1,000 maybe 15 years ago, but I never thought I’d win a jackpot. I thought this just has to be wrong.”

Ken checked the numbers on TV. He checked the paper. He checked his ticket. They matched. The date was right. The numbers were right. He still wasn’t convinced. To ensure he wouldn’t be in for a major disappointment, Ken decided to triple-check his ticket. Late at night the day before he was scheduled to show up at the Lottery’s new “Department of Imagination” store in NorthTown Mall to claim his prize this week, Ken drove to a local gas station near his home and scanned his ticket at one of the Lottery vending machines.

“I definitely held my breath when I scanned the ticket,” added Ken. “But after seeing what it said on the screen, I took a few deep breaths, put the ticket back in my pocket and walked out to my car as calmly as possible.”

Other than a few repairs around the house, Ken has no plans for his new-found fortune at the moment, saying he just plans to take it all in, have a nice dinner with his brothers and then think about what’s next.

Lotto is a draw game from Washington’s Lottery with drawings held three times per week. Tickets cost $1 each for two plays. For each play, players choose six numbers between 1 and 49. All Lotto jackpots begin at $1 million and keep growing until someone matches all six numbers to win.

About Washington’s Lottery: Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $4.5 billion to support important state programs including the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, which provides grants to help college students statewide achieve their higher education dreams, and supports early childhood education learning programs. The state’s Lottery offers consumers several types of games, including Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, Pick 3, Daily Keno and Scratch. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @walottery.

Keep it fun. Know your limit. Washington’s Lottery is an advocate for responsible gaming and collaborates with the Evergreen Council for Problem Gambling to provide resources for those in need. More information is available at


Press Contact
Dan Miller (Curator on behalf of Washington’s Lottery)