Grandmother wins $1.2M playing $2 lottery scratch card

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A California grandmother won $1.2 million off a scratch card game that she bought for $2 at a gas station in Fresno, state lottery officials said Tuesday.

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Helen Yonangitti told California Lottery officials that she planned to share the prize with her children, who have stepped in to help her since the death of her husband 11 years ago.

“It’s been hard,” Yonangitti said. “I owe them a lot. Anytime I need something, they take care of me.”

Yonangitti picked up a “$2 Set for Life Scratcher” at the Fast ‘N Esy Chevron station on East Ashlan Avenue in Fresno. The business won a $6,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

As a winner of the “$2 Set for Life Scratcher” top prize, Yonangitti had the option of taking her winnings in monthly payments of $4,000, spread out over the next 25 years, or as a lump sum of $696,000. Officials didn’t say what the grandmother of five chose.

Yonangitti claimed her ticket with some of her family members at the California Lottery’s Central Valley District Office, officials said Tuesday.

“To be able to do something for them – they’re all going to be happy,” she said. “This is too good.”

According to lottery officials, a person playing a “$2 Set for Life Scratcher” has a one in more than 6 million chance of winning the scratch card’s grand prize. The odds of winning cash of any amount from the game are about 1 in 8.

Funds paid to the California Lottery are used to support California schools.

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