Florida lottery winner turns $20 ticket into $5 million prize

Beth Torres

Lottery tickets, like everything, have gotten pricey in recent years. Paying $20 for a lottery ticket might sound extravagant to some, but it was a superb investment for Alpeshkumar Patel, a Florida resident who turned it into a $5,000,000 prize. 

What was the winning game?

Mr. Patel won his prize playing $5,000,000 CASHWORD. The relatively new “scratch-off” Florida Lottery game launched in May 2020.

How much did the winner actually receive?

According to the Florida Lottery press release, Mr. Patel chose to receive a lump sum payment of $3,915,000. The press release does not mention taxes. The Florida Lottery FAQ states that prizes greater than $5,000 are subject to 24 percent federal withholding tax. Presumably, this would apply to Mr. Patel’s winnings.

Where was the winning ticket sold?

The winning “$5,000,000 CASHWORD” game was sold at a Florida Lottery retailer, Citgo Express. The location is shown below.

Can winners of the Florida Lottery remain anonymous?

Short answer: No. The Florida Lottery FAQ states that:

“Florida Lottery winners cannot remain anonymous. Florida law mandates that the Florida Lottery provide records containing information such as the winner's name, city of residence; game won, date won, and amount won to any third party who requests the information; however, Florida Lottery winners' street addresses and telephone numbers are kept confidential.”

There is, however, some consideration for winners of prizes of $250,000 or greater. From the same FAQ:

“Beginning May 25, 2022, the names of Lottery winners claiming prizes of $250,000 or greater will be temporarily exempt from public disclosure (pursuant to F.S.24.1051(3)(a)) for 90 days from the date the prize is claimed, unless otherwise waived by the winner”

I have never heard of “$5,000.000 CASHWORD.” How is it played?

I hadn’t heard of it either. Fortunately, this video shows how the game is played. This one is a winner as well, although considerably smaller than the one played by lucky Mr. Patel.

Would you spend $20 on a lottery ticket or game?

I believe I have seen lottery “scratch off” games for as much as $50. This starts to sound outrageous to me, but maybe I am just “old school.” How about you? Leave a comment if you like. 

I just took another look at the $5,000,000 CASHWORD game page. I noticed something that might be of interest to other jackpot seekers. Under “Odds of Winnings and Prizes” on this page, they list how many of each prize are still available. For the big one, the $5,000,000 jackpot, the “Total Prizes” column shows eight, but the “Prizes Remaining” column only shows one. The next two sizable prizes show similar proportions. 

I have no idea how current or valid this information is, but it is listed on the official Florida Lottery website, so it seemed worthy of mentioning.

Okay, that’s it for this time around! Be sure to hit the like button if you enjoyed this article and follow me for more like this. Don’t forget to share it with others. Thanks, and good luck on any lottery endeavors!

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