Retiree playing lottery online at 1 a.m. wins in Virginia


Self-described “night owl” Walter Gainer was up playing the Virginia Lottery’s Prospector’s Gold online game at 1 a.m. when he won big.

Virginia Lottery photo

Gambling online at 1 a.m. sounds like trouble in the making, but one Virginia man is crediting his “night owl” lifestyle for winning a boatload of money in the Virginia Lottery.

Walter Gainer of Barhamsville is retired and says he “was just killing time” as he sat up playing Prospector’s Gold online well past midnight, according to a news release. Barhamsville is about 40 miles southeast of Richmond.

The session ended with a six figure number that Gainer says was tough to comprehend: $169,619.

“I’m looking at it and saying, ‘This has got to be a trick!’” Gainer said.

It wasn’t.

Gainer recently picked up his winnings and he told lottery officials “he has no immediate plans” for spending the money on fancy cars, a fishing boat or a bigger house.

He’s thinking of making investments, he told lottery officials.

Odds vary widely in the game, based on how much the player spends.

In Gainer’s case, his odds were 1 in 4.73, officials said.

Prospector’s Gold is among “dozens of online games” on the Virginia Lottery’s website that allow people (age 18 and older) to win big — or lose — from the comfort of their home.

Plays in the game range from 50 cents to $20 and the jackpot grows as more people play. Only people “physically located in Virginia” can play the games, officials said.


When gambling is more than a game

Gambling is designed to be a source of entertainment.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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