Portage man wins $1 million Hoosier Lottery prize

Brandon Thompson, of Portage, left, holds a $1 million check presented by Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor during halftime of the Oct. 22 Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Thompson won the second-chance drawing for purchasers of non-winning All Cash Millions $30 scratch-off tickets.

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INDIANAPOLIS — One man left Lucas Oil Stadium with a smile on his face Sunday despite the humiliating 27-0 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Brandon Thompson, of Portage, won $1 million from the Hoosier Lottery during a halftime second-chance drawing for purchasers of non-winning $30 All Cash Millions scratch-off tickets.

"I feel fantastic," Thompson said after his name was selected from among five second-chance promotion finalists.

Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah Taylor presented Thompson an oversized $1 million check at the 50-yard line to the sustained applause of Colts fans who finally had something to cheer about.

"I'm excited to be involved in something so cool," Thompson said.

Thompson has not decided what he'll do with all the money. But he said the first thing he plans to do with part of it is buy a new house.

The new millionaire works in railroad maintenance. He said he likes buying Hoosier Lottery scratch-off games that offer a second chance promotion for non-winning tickets.

Thompson explained that he usually plays lower-priced scratch games, but sometimes splurges on the top-of-the-line $30 ticket that offers correspondingly higher prizes at better odds.

He purchased his All Cash Millions ticket at Family Express, 1901 Burlington Beach Road, Valparaiso.

"I tell everybody, if you’re going to play lottery of any kind ... play responsibly," he said.

Another Porter County winner?

Thompson may be just the first new lottery millionaire to come out of Porter County this month.

Lottery officials said no one has yet claimed the $25.5 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot won Oct. 14 on a ticket sold at the BP gas station, 1501 N. Calumet Ave., Valparaiso.

The winning numbers for that drawing were: 8-9-16-20-26-30.

Lottery spokesman Dennis Rosebrough said lottery officials "haven't heard boo" from the winner, or an attorney, accountant or anyone else acting on the winner's behalf.

"We're just sort of waiting," Rosebrough said. "All is quiet."

The ticket holder has 180 days following the drawing to claim the prize.

The $25.5 million jackpot is the largest since the Hoosier Lotto price was increased last year to $2 from $1, and the draw game recalibrated to increase the total number of winners and potentially generate bigger jackpots.

Players also now can choose to spend $1 more for an immediate second-chance at a $1 million top prize through the Hoosier Lotto "Plus" drawing.

Other big winners

The largest-ever Hoosier Lotto jackpot — $54.5 million — was won in 2007 by retired East Chicago steelworker Peter Gilbert.

Two years ago, Dena Wright and Dan Gresham claimed an $18.7 million Hoosier Lotto prize on a ticket they purchased in Chesterton.

Nursing home supervisor Ernestine McKinney, of Gary, last year won $9.2 million playing Hoosier Lotto.

The lottery is popular with Northwest Indiana residents. Last month, two Region stores ranked in the top 10 statewide for lottery ticket sales.

Hammond's K&D Marathon, 220 165th St., was fourth, followed by MCR Short Stop, 6381 Central Ave., Portage, in fifth place. 

The Lucky Stop at 1912 Franklin St. in Michigan City also usually is among the top Hoosier Lottery ticket sellers.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.