Posted on: December 19, 2022, 03:44h. 

Last updated on: December 19, 2022, 05:27h.

Christmas is less than a week out, which means coworkers across the country are swapping gifts through office exchanges. One lucky individual in Kentucky, participating in her white elephant swap, received a prize much better than most.

white elephant gift exchange lottery scratch off
Lori Janes poses with her $175K ceremonial check from the Kentucky Lottery. Janes won the six-figure scratch-off prize through her work’s white elephant gift exchange. (Image: Kentucky Lottery)

Lori Janes works as an office manager and treatment coordinator at the Harmon Dental Center in Louisville. She was partaking last week in her office’s annual holiday white elephant exchange and was initially bummed when a coworker “stole” the $25 TJ Maxx gift card she was holding during the amusing holiday gift swap.

After having her TJ Maxx card stolen, Janes decided to grab another colleague’s $25 worth of Kentucky Lottery scratch-off tickets. Since the lottery tickets had already been stolen once before, Janes’ decision to steal the scratchers made them hers, as gifts can only be exchanged twice under the white elephant rules.

“Once [the tickets] got to me, it was done and mine to keep,” Janes told the Kentucky Lottery Commission. “That’s when everyone was telling me to scratch them off.”

Janes won $50 on her first scratch-off play. Already a big winner in the office white elephant, Janes decided to scratch off the second ticket. And that’s when her luck really turned.

The $10 “Hit the Jackpot” scratch-off lived up to the ticket’s name, as Janes’ ticket hit the game’s top prize of $175K.

Everyone was going insane,” Janes explained. “People were getting their calculators out and double-checking. A couple of people even scanned the ticket on the lottery’s app to make sure.”

Janes wasn’t afforded the option of remaining anonymous under Kentucky law.

Christmas Comes Early

Janes’ holiday season is shaping up to be one of her more memorable Decembers. Kentucky Lottery officials say the odds of a $10 “Hit the Jackpot” scratcher hitting the jackpot is one in 1,080,000.

“It was a $25 gift exchange, and I won $175,0000,” Janes said.

She didn’t receive the full $175K, of course. After federal and state taxes, Janes’ net award was $124,250 — still a nice way to kick off the holidays.

Janes’ white elephant gift was likely considerably higher than her entire 2022 salary. Janes says she plans to use the money to pay off her daughter’s student loans.

“I’m truly blessed,” Janes concluded.

Janes’ colleague purchased the $25 worth of Kentucky Lottery scratch-offs at the Sunrise Market in Fisherville, a Louisville suburb. For selling the winning scratch-off, the convenience store will receive a $1,750 lottery commission bonus.

$175K Prize Remains

The current print run of the Kentucky Lottery’s “Hit the Jackpot” game included a little more than two million tickets. With Janes claiming one of the game’s top prizes, only one single remaining jackpot ticket remains in circulation somewhere in Kentucky.

There are also 49 remaining $2,000 and 63 remaining $1,000 “Hit the Jackpot” winning tickets. There are also 316,030 tickets remaining that will simply win back the $10 ticket cost — the game’s smallest prize.