WEST OCEAN CITY — A local man finally came forward and claimed his $1 million Maryland Lottery Monopoly Millionaire’s Club prize this week, but he has gone to great lengths to conceal his identity.
Back on Nov. 7, the multi-state draw game’s top prize of $21 million was won by a player in New Jersey, which triggered a total of 14, $1 million prizes around the country. The Maryland Lottery then announced one of the $1 million Monopoly Millionaire’s Club winning tickets had been sold at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City, igniting intrigue around the tight community about the identity of a new millionaire.
The intrigue ended somewhat on Monday when the winner turned in his winning ticket and claimed his prize at Maryland Lottery headquarters. While many by now have figured out who won the million dollar prize through the process of elimination, the winner asked that his identity not be revealed and the Maryland Lottery obliged. The Dispatch will as well. Interestingly enough, the photo released by Maryland Lottery this week shows the typical “big check” presentation with the identities of the winner and his significant other obscured by the iconic black top hats long associated with the popular board game.
What is reportable, however, is the winner is a 62-year-old Berlin man and grandfather of two. He is a loyal Maryland Lottery player and routinely buys his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Tuesdays, but also plays Keno from time to time. When he learned how the Monopoly Millionaire’s Club game worked, he bought a ticket because he liked the fact the game has a limited top prize amount and pays out 10 or more $1 million prizes.
“I think they should pay out more millions,” he said when he redeemed his ticket on Monday.
In addition to the monetary prize, the winner also received a personalized Millionaire’s Club Top Hat in a customized Monopoly Millionaire’s Club hat box. He said he plans to pay off his house, pay off several loans and put money aside in his grandchildren’s college accounts, but the big score will not necessarily change his lifestyle.
“I’m going back to work tomorrow,” he told Lottery officials on Monday.
When Greene Turtle staffers were informed the establishment had sold a $1 million winning ticket, they checked the daily sales log and found that only five of the tickets had been sold in advance of the drawing last Friday. Three of the tickets were sold to employees and each confirmed it was not them. A fourth ticket was sold to another Greene Turtle denizen who also confirmed she had not won.
That left just one ticket unaccounted for and it was determined through some investigation that it was likely sold to a local man and frequent player. The unidentified winner came into the Greene Turtle last week and asked why he had been receiving odd text messages and phone calls from unrecognizable numbers. When informed he was possibly the winner of the $1 million prize, he reportedly left abruptly and went to double check his Millionaire’s Club ticket.
For its part, the Greene Turtle West received a $1,000 bonus from the state for selling the winning ticket.