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

Justin Coates Wins Top Prize Playing "Crossword" Scratch Game

Justin Coates   Hear Justin tell his story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Spencer man was pleasantly surprised to find out his winning "Crossword" instant-scratch ticket was worth a lot more than he originally anticipated.

"I thought it was like a $5 ticket, so I checked it in the machine and it said, '$30,000!'" said Justin Coates.

Coates, 42, said he still didn't believe that he had won a $30,000 top prize.

"I didn't really see what it said because I'm like, 'There's too many numbers in that,'" he said. "So I did it again and then I'm like, 'No!'"

Coates claimed the first of 86 top prizes of $30,000 available in the Iowa Lottery's newest Crossword game (game #805). He claimed his prize Friday at the lottery's regional office in Storm Lake.

Coates said he purchased his winning ticket Thursday at Dyno's, 4318 Highway Blvd. in Spencer. He said he regularly purchases Crossword scratch tickets at this retailer and always has his tickets double-checked there.

"I always miss letters when I do those so I check even the ones I thought were losers," he said. "I just missed some letters. I thought I had scratched off four words and apparently I had all of them."

Coates, who works at General Machine Works, said his lottery winnings will be used to pay off debt and start a new life in Spencer. Coates grew up in Spencer, but spent the last 20 years living in Rochester, Minn. He moved back to Spencer about a year ago.

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.

Eighty-five top prizes of $30,000 are still up for grabs in Crossword (game #805), as well as 127 prizes of $3,000 and thousands of prizes of $300 and $100.

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