Man strolls past lottery machine, decides to play — and wins massive prize in Virginia

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A man with no plan to play won huge after lottery machines caught his attention, Virginia officials said.

Alexandr Pichshev was at a Safeway in Fairfax when he decided to buy some tickets, according to a Nov. 9 news release by the Virginia Lottery.

After scratching the winning ticket, Pichshev learned he had landed himself the “game’s top prize” of $5 million, lottery officials said. This was the “$326,000,000 Fortune” game’s second top prize claimed.

Instead of receiving annual payments for the next 30 years, Pichshev opted for the one time payment of $3,125,000, lottery officials said.

“It was unexpected!” Pichshev told Virginia Lottery officials. “I showed the ticket to the store manager, and he told me to sign the ticket.”

Officials didn’t specify what Pichshev will do with the winnings.

The Fortune game has prizes ranging from $50 to $5 million, officials said. One more top prize is left to be claimed.

Fairfax is about 100 miles north of Richmond.

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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