Beginner’s luck, new lottery player wins $50,000 prize

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Prakash Pandey of Fairfax, Va., who immigrated legally to America several months ago, just won a Maryland Lottery nest egg to help him get settled. He started playing Lottery games after he arrived in our region and just scored a $50,000 prize on a $500 Loaded scratch-off.

Sitting in the Winner’s Circle at Lottery headquarters, the Fairfax County resident continually remarked that he couldn’t believe his good fortune. He kept looking at a copy of his winning instant ticket to be sure this wasn’t an elaborate joke at his expense.

“I was supposed to come to the United States last year,” Prakash said, “but after travel was shut down because of the pandemic, all my plans were delayed.”

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The information technologies professional arrived in America this year and, when not working, likes to play Lottery games. His big win happened across the state line.


Prakash bought the $5 $500 Loaded instant ticket from Dash In #1851 located in Laurel, scratched off the winning numbers and then revealed the rest of the instant ticket to look for matches. He found a matching 19 in his play area so he scratched below it to reveal a $50,000 prize! The 35-year-old told Lottery officials he was so shocked that he spoke with the clerk at the store, and scanned his instant ticket three times just to make sure he really won.

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“I just had to be sure,” the winner said. “I was and still am in a state of shock.”

Prakash plans to use the windfall to settle into his new home country. He also plans to continue to play Lottery games in hopes of winning a huge Powerball jackpot. He and other Powerball players have plenty of time to buy tickets for the Saturday, July 31 drawing. The jackpot is $199 million with a cash option of $144 million.

For its role in selling the top-prize winning scratch-off, Dash In #1851 located at 6000 Sandy Spring Road in Laurel earned a $500 bonus from the Lottery.

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The $500 Loaded game hit retailers’ shelves in May. Four $50,000 top prizes remain unclaimed as well as seven $5,000 second-tier prizes and 18 $1,000 prizes.