California lottery officials have announced that Clyde Stokely is the winner of a $5 million scratcher ticket purchased in San Luis Obispo County in August. However, Stokely is described as being “extraordinarily private” and has no desire to be in the public eye, according to lottery spokesperson Carolyn Becker. While Stokely chose to keep his hometown and other personal details private, the state’s lottery rules require the release of the winner’s name, the location and date of the ticket purchase, and the size of the win.
The process of revealing Stokely’s name took longer than usual because scratcher claims require additional verification to ensure their validity. Unlike regular lottery tickets, scratchers are purchased directly over the counter, with no record of who bought each ticket.
The California Lottery considers any win of $1 million or more to be significant enough to inform the public. According to Becker, the system processes over 10,000 prize claims per month, with approximately 120 wins of $1 million or more each year.
Although Stokely wanted to keep most details about himself private, he did authorize lottery officials to share his initial reaction to the win. Stokely had been playing various scratcher games for many years in hopes of winning big. His persistence paid off when the number 28 on his 100x game matched the top prize amount of $5 million. Stokely expressed his excitement and even double-checked the ticket multiple times to ensure he wasn’t mistaken.
Stokely also shared his unique method of playing scratchers with officials. He first scratches the numbers to check for a match. If there is no match, he doesn’t bother scratching off the prize value. In this case, he had a matching number 28, indicating a win. Only then did he scratch off the prize value, revealing the whopping $5 million win.
Despite his big win, Stokely stated that he doesn’t consider himself superstitious and that his method of play is just a quirky way to add suspense. He attributed his lucky day to chance rather than any particular belief or strategy.
In addition to Stokely’s windfall, the Cambria General Store, where he purchased the winning ticket, will receive a $25,000 bonus. The store’s owners, Benan Akkare and Elia Akhri, have been working on renovating the old structure since taking ownership on August 1. The lottery bonus will help with the upgrades, which include adding an indoor bathroom, new gas pumps that accept credit cards, improvements to the canopy and parking lot, as well as expanding the selection of groceries, liquor, and wine.
Store manager Sean Farhoud, who sold the winning ticket, does not expect to receive a bonus for the sale.