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Des Moines Man Wins $300,000 Lottery Prize On Ticket He Didn't Plan To Buy

Curtis Smith Wins Top Prize in 'Win Big' Scratch Game

Curtis Smith

CLIVE, Iowa — His favorite scratch game was sold out, so a Des Moines man bought a lottery ticket in a different game and won a $300,000 lottery prize.

"I got in my car and scratched it off, and I couldn't believe it," Curtis Smith said, admitting that he was a little shaky when he then tried to use the lottery app on his mobile phone to double-check what he saw. "I'm fumbling to get my phone to check it and finally, it came up that I won $300,000."

Smith, 51, won the ninth top prize in the Iowa Lottery's "Win Big" scratch game. He claimed his prize Friday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive.

Smith said he had just finished an overtime shift at the tire plant where he works and stopped by Casey's, 4560 NE 14th St. in Des Moines, with plans to buy a "Colossal Crossword" ticket. When that game wasn't available, he opted for a ticket in the Win Big game instead.

The realization that he had won big left him stunned.

"I sat in the parking lot for 10 minutes. Just didn't know what I was doing, I was in shock," he said.

Smith said he sent a screenshot of the prize amount to a group of friends, who were just as surprised as he was.

He said he and his wife, Anna, plan to use the winnings to purchase a new home, retire debt and purchase a headstone for his mother's gravesite.

Win Big is a $30 scratch game that features 11 top prizes of $300,000, 57 prizes of $30,000 and overall odds of 1 in 2.38. For more information about this game, and the number of prizes still available, visit

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