SALEM, OR -- The winner of the $6.4 million lottery ticket bought in Bend in August has finally come forward, but he's not from around here. The Oregon Lottery is paying out the prize to an Iraqi man who purchased the ticket from an Israeli website called Lotter.com.
Oregon Lottery Executive Director Jack Roberts believes this is the first time this has happened. "By and large, in Europe, they don't have those huge jackpots. So, there's a huge market, particularly for the Powerball and MegaMillions. It never occurred to us that someone would be buying Megabucks here, and offering them on the internet."
Lottery officials consulted with the Oregon Attorney General who determined the transaction was legal because someone in bend purchased the ticket in person, initially. Roberts says the winner claimed his winnings in Salem. "I met with him, I talked to him. He does seem to be someone that I didn't suspect he was in any criminal activity. But, he did say he was concerned about the safety of himself and his family, living in Iraq. He actually lives in Baghdad." Roberts agreed to keep the name secret, but that issue could still be challenged in court. "I think what he was concerned about, his family has had problems. He told me, he's a Kurd and lives in Baghdad. He said 'we have both sides against us, and we are very careful and very protective.'"
He says the man opted for the 25-year annual pay out and has already received his first payment. The original ticket was bought at Binky's Deli and Lottery Outlet in Bend. The store will receive a 1% "selling bonus," totaling about $64,000.