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Muscatine County Man Wins More Than He Originally Thought, Takes Home $30,000 Lottery Prize

Joe Church Wins Top Prize Playing 'Crossword' Scratch Game

Joe Church   Hear Joe tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A "Crossword" scratch ticket ended up being worth a lot more than an eastern Iowa man originally thought.

Joe Church of Nichols said he knew he had a winning scratch ticket, but he thought he had won $300 until he gave his ticket a second look.

"And then there was one letter I didn't have scratched off all the way and there was my other two (words)," Church told lottery employees as he claimed his prize Tuesday at the lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.

Church claimed the 26th of 86 top prizes of $30,000 available in the Crossword game. He purchased his winning ticket at Casey's, 1334 Iowa Highway 22 in Nichols.

The 58-year-old retiree said he used a self-scanner at a local lottery retailer to confirm that he had won a big prize.

"Ran it underneath there and it blinked up there real quick," he said. "It said, '$30,000 winner.' And it was like, 'Alright! I guess I'm right!'"

After his winning ticket was confirmed, Church said he texted his daughter the good news, but she didn't believe him and called him back.

"I said, 'Yeah, I didn't make a mistake on the zeroes behind that three,'" Church told his daughter.

Church said his winnings will be used for retirement.

Crossword is a $3 scratch game. Players win a prize by uncovering at least three complete words in the ticket's puzzle. If a player uncovers 10 words, he/she wins $30,000. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.82.

Sixty top prizes of $30,000 are still up for grabs in Crossword (game #805), as well as 89 prizes of $3,000 and thousands of prizes of $300 and $100.

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