Lotto confusion: One man's trash is another man's treasure

MUKWONAGO (WITI) -- It's the kind of thing you secretly hope could happen to you. A man finds a discarded lottery ticket in a parking lot and ends up winning $1,000. It all happened at a Mukwonago Mobile station.

"A customer had found a scratch off ticket on the parking lot ground and the only thing that was scratched off on it was the play area which had the three-letter codes and it ended up being a thousand dollar winner," said Michael Bell, the Mukwonago Mobil manager.

Bell says each scratch off ticket comes with a three-letter code, and that code sometimes indicates how much a person has won. A $5 winner would be F-I-V or ten would be T-E-N. But one thing he says many players don't know, is for winning amounts over $600, the codes look random.

"A lot of players don't play the game, a lot of them just are wanting the money they want to take the chances on the gamble, so they know where those codes are so they just scratch those codes," said Bell.

That's why Bell thinks that $1,000 winner was instead treated like trash.

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Lottery tells FOX6 News those three-letter codes were never meant for player use.

"The purpose of the code is really to provide retailers with extra certainty with respect to prizes under $600 since they're paid out by retailers," said Jennifer Western.

Bell said he'd like to see the scratch off tickets make the three-letter code W-I-N for any winner over $600.

Western calls that an interesting idea, but said it's something the lottery would need to look into.