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Waterloo Woman Surprised By $30,000 Lottery Win

Jamie Tobar Wins Top Prize in 'Bonus Crossword' Scratch Game

Jamie Tobar

CLIVE, Iowa — A Waterloo woman who thought she'd won $3 was surprised to find out she had instead won $30,000.

"I thought it was a $3 winner because I forgot to do the bonus letters," Jamie Tobar said on Monday as she claimed her prize at the lottery's Cedar Rapids regional office. "I scanned it and didn't believe it, so I just kept scanning it."

Tobar, 39, won the 143rd top prize in the Iowa Lottery's "Bonus Crossword" scratch game. She and her husband, Chris, purchased the ticket from the self-service kiosk at Hy-Vee, 2834 Ansborough Ave. in Waterloo.

After repeatedly checking the ticket with the Iowa Lottery mobile app, she said her big win began to sink in.

"I thought the app was glitching on me, but it was real," she said.

Her husband wasn't as sure.

"My husband was looking at me like, 'What is wrong with you?'" Tobar recalled with a laugh. "Then he thought I was pulling a prank on him."

It wasn't until he checked the ticket on his phone that he began to believe as well.

Tobar said they plan to use the winnings to pay bills and share with their three children.

Bonus Crossword is a $3 scratch game that features overall odds of 1 in 3.52 and 144 top prizes of $30,000. For more information about this game, and the number of prizes still available, visit

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