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Couple convinced lottery ticket is fake takes it back to store — but big win is real

During their regular grocery shopping stop in Maryland, Sandra and Albert Russell had some leftover change when the cashier rang up their goods.

The Westminster couple decided to use the change to buy two lottery scratch-off tickets.

They scratched off the tickets on their way home and saw they won $10, according to a Nov. 16 news release from the Maryland Lottery, then had to decide what to do with the winnings.

“I said, ‘Let’s buy two $5 scratch offs,’” Sandra Russell told lottery officials.

The decision would change their lives.

Albert Russell pulled into a Royal Farms convenience store and bought the tickets, bringing them out to his wife in the car, officials said.

As they scratched one off, they saw a “ball” symbol, then the words “autowin,” according to the release.

“I didn’t believe that ball was real,” Albert Russell told officials. “I had to take it back to the store to make sure.”

Inside the store, the staff confirmed what the Russells hoped to be true – they won $50,000.

The Russells told lottery officials they plan to use some of the money to buy a new riding mower for their farm, but they are still deciding what to do with the rest.

“We are still in shock,” Sandra Russell said.

Westminster is about 35 miles northwest of Baltimore.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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