Local store sells $500K lotto ticket

Published 11:16 am Monday, November 19, 2012

Jim and Ollie Slater, of Altoona, Fla., purchased a $500,000-winning lottery ticket at Raceway in Bainbridge last week. Shown are the Slaters and Paul Patel, manager of Raceway and seller of the winning ticket.|Justin Schuver

When Ollie Marie Slater visited her family members in Bainbridge, she didn’t know that she’d be going home with more than just fond memories — she’d also be going home with a $500,000 lottery win.

Slater, 53, of Altoona, Fla., was visiting an aunt and uncle, Irene and Bud Nelson of Bainbridge, last week when she and her husband, Jim, stopped to get gas Friday morning at the Raceway on Tallahassee Highway.

While in the gas station, Ollie bought some lottery tickets and played the $5 instant-win “Black Pearls” game from the Georgia Lottery, winning the largest prize possible — $500,000.

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“It’s just a blessing from God,” said Ollie, who has been married for 30 years and has four children. “We play the lottery some in Florida, but this is by far our biggest win.”

Paul Patel, the manager of the Raceway, was working Friday morning when Slater scratched off the winning ticket.

“She bought a few tickets and I just said, ‘good luck,’” Patel said. “I’m very excited for them.”

Although Ollie purchased the ticket, Jim was actually the one who scratched it.

“He said, ‘Look at this,’” she said. “I shouted, ‘Jim!’ My husband and I are truly appreciative. We can pick out [a home] — what we want. We’ve always loved that area.”

Altoona is located in central Florida, near Orlando and Ocala. Jim works as a landscaper at The Villages subdivision.

Ollie said that she hasn’t thought about what they will purchase with their winnings, but they do know they want to buy a new roof for their church.
“We’ll just have to sit back and think,” she said. “It’s still soaking in a little.”

According to the Georgia Lottery Corporation, the odds of winning the top prize in Black Pearls are 1 in 1.8 million.

Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery has returned more than $13.8 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K program.

More than 1.4 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.2 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary Pre-K program.