As a dealer at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Melinda Lawyer has seen her fair share of visitors touched by Lady Luck. The tables were turned, however, on April 5 when she realized she was the one holding all the cards – a winning Missouri Lottery “Triple Bingo” Scratchers ticket worth $50,003.
Lawyer, 43, had bought just one ticket on her way to work at the casino Saturday night. It didn’t prove to be a big winner, but it did garner her initial purchase price of $3 back, which she then put toward another ticket Sunday morning after completing her shift.
“I traded in my ticket from the previous day,” she recalled, though she didn’t realize what she had until she scratched the new ticket later at home.
“I checked it four times,” she said. “I didn’t believe it. I thought I had scratched the wrong number.”
Lawyer’s job allows her “to give away lots of money,” so when asked how it felt to be on the receiving end of a prize windfall this time, she had one simple answer.
“It’s awesome,” she said.
She’s seen people on occasion “be silly and give it right back,” referring to patrons who win big but go on to lose those winnings. She has a different plan.
“I’m going to be responsible,” she said. Her first goal is to “pay off everything that has interest,” including car and student loans. A vacation might also be on the horizon, but she’s not sure yet just where that might be.
“I’m still not sure it’s sunk in,” she laughed.
Lawyer bought her winning “Triple Bingo” ticket at South Broadway Phillips 66, 3605 S. Broadway in St. Louis. The game officially began on Jan. 14 and, to date, has provided nearly $6 million in total prizes to Missouri Lottery players.