Maryland man uses store clerk’s error to win big on Pick 5


The man bought four $1 Pick 5 straight bet tickets, each with a top prize of $50,000, lottery officials said.

The man bought four $1 Pick 5 straight bet tickets, each with a top prize of $50,000, lottery officials said.

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A store clerk’s error led to not one but two major lottery prizes for one Maryland man, lottery officials said.

John Ambrose, of Severna Park, won $200,000 on May 16 playing Pick 5 using the numbers 77477, according to a June 12 news release from the Maryland Lottery.

That same sequence of numbers won him $10,000 on a Pick 5 game in 2023, and he’s used them ever since, officials said.

But those lucky numbers were generated in error in 2022, the 67-year-old told lottery officials.

Ambrose asked for 77377 after seeing that number on a TV show, but the store clerk accidentally printed a ticket with the numbers 77477, according to the release.

Additionally, instead of entering a $1 straight bet, “he made a mistake and it came out boxed,” the winner said.

With a straight bet, a player can only win if their numbers are in the exact order as what’s drawn. In a boxed bed, the five numbers must be the same as what’s drawn but can be in any order.

According to lottery officials, that win “motivated John to keep playing 77477.”

Ambrose played the numbers for the May 16 drawing, officials said.

“I glanced up at the Lottery numbers and saw that my number came out straight,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The top prize on a $1 Pick 5 straight bet is $50,000.

Ambrose bought four $1 tickets, resulting in a $200,000 total prize, officials said.

He purchased his winning tickets at Royal Farms in Severna Park.

Severna Park is about a 20-mile drive southeast from Baltimore.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

Lauren Liebhaber is a National Real-Time Reporter for McClatchy.

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