LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas State Lottery officials say an Arlington, Texas, man who got his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Arkansas parlayed that into a $1-million prize.
In May, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state would give away lottery tickets and gift certificates as an incentive to get the vaccine.
Gary Smith of Arlington, an Arkansas native, was in the state visiting family when they decided to go to the local health department to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 shot last week.
After showing proof that he received his second shot, Smith had his choice between a $20 $1 Million Spectacular scratch-off ticket or a $20 gift certificate for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
He took the scratcher, but little did he know that this decision would make him the next lottery-made millionaire.
“I know they’re lying,” was his first thought after he scratched the winning ticket when he returned to his family’s home. “I couldn’t believe it!”
“My grandmother was the first person that I told about my win,” Smith said. “We both were in total shock. She immediately wanted to leave to get her another ticket,” he chuckled.
Smith works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He plans to pay bills and help his family with his winnings.
“I recently got engaged in April and blessed to have the wedding and honeymoon of my dreams with my future wife,” Smith said.
He is the 83rd person that has won a lottery prize worth $1 million or more in Arkansas since 2009. With Smith’s million-dollar win, one top prize left of $1 million remains on the $1 Million Spectacular game, and a $50,000 ticket is still in circulation.