Brothers Made Lifelong Agreement to Split Winnings
A man from Virginia has made national news after winning a $230,000 lottery prize and deciding to split the money with his brother – fulfilling a promise the pair made to each other over 30 years ago.
As reported by multiple news outlets, the two brothers stated that they made a lifelong pact that if one of them ever won the lottery, they would share the prize equally. Despite the odds of either of them taking home such a jackpot being incredibly low, the brothers upheld their decades-old agreement when one finally beat the 1-in-1.7 million odds.
“We said we’d split it if we ever won,” said one of the brothers. “We’re as close as two brothers can be.”
Virginia Man Wins $230K Jackpot
On December 20th, 2023, the Virginia Lottery announced that a man had won the $230,000 top prize in their Cash 5 game after matching all five numbers in the daily drawing the night before.
According to lottery officials, the man purchased a single Quick Pick ticket from a convenience store in Waynesboro, Virginia earlier on the day he won. That night’s winning numbers – 1-2-10-20-21 – perfectly matched those randomly generated for the lucky winner.
“He told Lottery officials he has no immediate plans for his winnings,” the Virginia Lottery stated in their news release.
| Cash 5 | $230,000 | 1-2-10-20-21
While the odds of taking home the Cash 5 jackpot are incredibly small at just 1 in 1,749,398, the Virginia Lottery noted that someone wins the top prize around every few months. This man simply emerged at the latest victor of this long-running statewide lottery game.
Why the Brother’s Decided to Split Winnings
Upon realizing he had captured the $230,000 prize, the winner stated he knew there was only one thing to do – call up his brother and tell him the good news.
“As soon as I won, I said, ‘My brother and I said we’d split it if we ever won,’” he told multiple publications. “He was the first person I called when I found out I won. He couldn’t believe it.”
The brother said they made the promise to split any potential future lottery winnings sometime in the early 1990s. Having grown up “as close as two brothers can be,” the idea that they would split a jackpot seemed natural for the siblings.
“We have each other, you know?” remarked one brother. “He’s always been there for me and I’ve always been there for him.”
Neither sibling likely thought their youthful promise would ever come to fruition when the odds of winning seemed so low. But three decades later, the two had clearly never forgotten their pact.
How the Brothers Plan to Use the Money
After taxes, each brother will take home just over $80,000 from the cash option chosen for the jackpot prize. When asked how he plans to spend the money, one brother said he hopes to save and invest some of it for his retirement.
The other sibling stated he intends to help his daughters with the winnings, potentially using some for their education expenses. He also facetiously added that he now no longer needs to save money to purchase lottery tickets, thanks to already beating the astronomical odds once.
While their plans for the money itself are relatively modest, the brothers emphasized that upholding their lifelong promise means more than the actual jackpot amount. By choosing to split the lottery earnings down the middle, the pair brought their decades-long pact full circle.
“It’s about the agreement we made as kids,” commented one sibling. “We’ll be forever bound because of this experience of splitting this lottery.”
Virginia Lottery History & Jackpot Odds
The Virginia Lottery launched in September 1988 after voters in the state approved a referendum to establish a government-run lottery system. In the over 35 years since, the Virginia Lottery has awarded more than $35 billion in prizes to lucky winners across the Commonwealth.
Their product lineup includes draw games like Cash 5 and Pick 3/Pick 4, along with scratcher tickets and state participation in multi-state jackpot games Mega Millions and Powerball. The Virginia Lottery has contributed more than $11 billion overall to the state’s public education system.
Cash 5 is one of the Virginia Lottery’s longest offered draw games, having launched in 1994. Players pick 5 numbers between 1-43 and can win prizes from $5 up to $100,000. Rollover jackpots frequently push the top prize even higher, as was likely the case when the two brothers recently split their $230,000 windfall.
Despite much lower odds than massive multi-state lotteries, Cash 5 players face steep 1-in-1.7 million chances overall of matching all five numbers. That is why the recent pact-fulfilling jackpot proved so newsworthy across Virginia and nationally. Out of the game’s countless tickets purchased annually, only a tiny fraction produce a half-million dollar payday like the siblings recently split.
|Top Prize Odds
|Overall Odds of Any Prize
|1 in 1,749,398
|1 in 8
“You start playing, but you never think you’re going to win, you know?” commented one brother on beating the low odds. But thanks to a promise made 30 years prior, he will now have this unlikely story to tell about splitting a lottery prize for the rest of his life.
Heartwarming Tale Brings Publicity for Virginia Lottery
In the weeks since the drawing, the story of two siblings splitting a major jackpot based on a childhood promise has spread widely across news outlets and social media. Outlets like CNN, USA Today, and CBS News have spotlighted the heartwarming local tale that produced a nationwide buzz.
Many on social media congratulated the brothers and praised them for sticking to their decades-old agreement. Virginia Lottery officials recognized the publicity value as well, sharing the buzzworthy story on their own social channels.
The viral attention aligns with the Virginia Lottery’s frequent spotlighting of big lottery winners to promote their offerings statewide. By driving public interest in games like Cash 5, the story of the brother’s long-held pact may boost overall ticket sales and entries into the game itself.
That would mean the odds shift even more in the house’s favor going forward. But recent big winners like the two sibling promise-keepers will still emerge occasionally, just often enough to drive further lottery interest according to officials.
Of course, the brothers care little whether their split jackpot story helps Virginia Lottery revenues soar ever higher. For them, the last month represented a heartwarming realization of a lifelong promise rather than any business considerations around lottery promotion.
What This Means for Lottery Gambling Going Forward
Experts note that the feel-good story of two brothers splitting a major lottery prize aligns with periods after large Powerball or MegaMillions jackpots. As public interest in games of chance reaches peaks, more casual players try their lucky hand at long odds.
“These lottery pacts come up every few years it seems,” remarked longtime lottery analyst Geoff Freeman. “Someone wins a huge jackpot after making some offhand promise decades ago. It drives this message that lightning can strike twice and might strike for you next.”
Whether the recent Cash 5 story actually pushes the overall trend of lottery spending upward remains to be seen over 2024. But Freeman notes it will almost certainly boost interest specifically for the Virginia-based games highlighting the viral siblings.
As that interest drives more ticket sales, the public contributes even more to educational funding across Virginia. So whether through taxes, additional tickets sales, or promotional value, the uncommon promise upheld by two brothers will keep paying dividends for their home state.
Even if their heartwarming agreement seemed like a longshot during the initial years after making that childhood pact, the story now comes full circle three decades later. Thanks to lottery luck striking at last, a lifelong promise of splitting any jackpot winnings finally came to pass for one fortunate Virginia duo.
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