The biggest winning ticket sold in Arkansas’ lottery history was bought by Eliberto Cantu of Lubbock, Texas. Cantu, 71, was officially recognized Monday (April 17) by the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program as the holder of the $177 million lottery ticket.
The winning ticket was purchased March 30 at the All Stop Valero at 408 E. 22nd St., in Stuttgart. It is by far the largest winning lottery ticket purchased in the eight-year history of the Arkansas Lottery program. The second largest Arkansas Scholarship Lottery winner was from Conway and won $25 million playing Powerball in January 2010.
“All I can say is, we’re blessed – and keep buying lottery tickets!,” Cantu, 71, said in a statement following a presentation by Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director Bishop Woosley.
Cantu bought the ticket while working in construction near Hazen. The winner’s son said his parents “still don’t believe it is real.”
According to the lottery statement, Cantu plans to travel and to rebuild his home church with the money. Lottery officials also said Cantu waited until Monday to come forward so he could get his “financial ducks in a row,” before accepting the money.
Taxes from the ticket are expected to inject $7 million into state coffers.
LOTTERY WINNERS, HISTORY
This latest winning ticket would put the number of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery-made millionaires at 55. The last million dollar prize won in the state was Dannie Mitchell of North Little Rock, who claimed $1 million from a $20 Arkansas Millions instant ticket.
Since its inception in 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided nearly $700 million for in-state college scholarships to Arkansas students, nearly $2 billion in prizes to players, and more than $182 million in commissions to Lottery retailers. More than 92 cents of every dollar of Lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions and other expenses in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided funding for more than 235,000 scholarships to Arkansas students.