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Lottery player pockets windfall after ticket error

Michael Sopejstal won his prize after a worker made a mistake with the lottery ticket he wanted.

Michael Sopejstal won his prize after a worker made a mistake with the lottery ticket he wanted. Photo: Getty

An American man is celebrating, after pocketing nearly $600,000 with a mistaken lottery ticket.

Illinois man Michael Sopejstal collected the $US390,000 ($588,000) prize from a ticket printed in error by a service station employee.

According to reports in US media, 60-year-old Sopejstal buys tickets in the Lucky for Life lottery in neighbouring Michigan every time he visits the state to eat at his favourite restaurant.

On September 17, he stopped in at a local GoLo service station to get his usual purchase of a ticket offering 10-20 draws. By mistake, the service station worker gave him a ticket for 10 lines in a single draw.

Undeterred, Sopejstal said he’d keep the erroneous ticket.

“I told him I still wanted it,” he said this week.

“I checked my ticket one morning and saw that I had won $US25,000 ($38,000) a year for life. I immediately started thinking about all the things I could do with the money and whether I wanted to take the lump sum or annuity option. It was an amazing feeling.”

He opted to take the money in a lump sum, banking $390,000 after a recent visit to lottery headquarters. Sopejstal plans to use his windfall to travel, and will save some.

Lucky for Life is played in about two dozen US states. Prizes range from $3 to a top prize of $1000 a day for life.

The overall odds of winning for each game are posted on the game’s website. Sopejstal’s odds of winning his draw on September 17 were 1 in more than 1.8 million.

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