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Bad luck?: Lottery hopefuls mad at Billings store during Montana Millionaire frenzy

Bad luck?: Lottery hopefuls mad at Billings store during Montana Millionaire frenzy
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-02 20:32:39-04

BILLINGS — All 380,000 Montana Millionaire tickets sold in just five hours on Wednesday, surpassing last year's sale of 280,000 tickets in 29 hours.

For many, this lottery event is much anticipated, but some in Billings were left feeling uneasy after purchasing their tickets.

“My ticket that got printed when I got up there didn’t go to me, it went to someone in the other line so that person could have my winning numbers, but you don’t know,” Tanya Clarin of Billings said on Thursday.

Clarin was looking forward to purchasing her first Montana Millionaire ticket, but as she inched toward the counter at the Town Pump at 3969 Grand Ave., she became confused by the way the cashiers were handling the ticket sales.
“My husband normally buys. So, he said when you get up there just tell them you want your ticket and wait because sometimes, you’ll hear a special sound, and that means you’re an automatic $500 winner,” Clarin said. “As cashiers were saying I need one, two, three, and (the guy printing) was just like handing them off.”

 Jenna Haacke was at the same Town Pump as Clarin about an hour before Clarin was in line at 9:40 a.m.. Haacke noticed the same thing.

“As I was getting closer in line I was about six, seven deep, I noticed a staff member behind the counter hollering out to the customers how many tickets they would like,” Haacke said. "We weren’t even close to the cash register to purchase these tickets.”

The Town Pump store in question told MTN News they cannot comment on the situation.

“If there was an instant winner, the employees would have had absolutely no idea who that ticket belonged to,” Haacke said.

The Montana Lottery said they are aware of the claims and are in touch with the Town Pump to assist them in investigating the claim.

 “I just wish that Town Pump wouldn’t have done it that way to make us all feel a little uncomfortable," Clarin said.