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Ohio’s $1 million Vax-a-million lottery: First winners revealed

First winners of Ohio

Abbigail Bugenske from Silverton was the first winner of the $1 million prize, while Joseph Costello of Englewood captured the first college scholarship award.

OHIO, USA — On Wednesday, the state of Ohio announced its first $1 million winner in the Vax-a-Million lottery, a unique incentive from Governor DeWine to encourage more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton in Hamilton County captured the first million dollar prize.

In addition to the $1 million drawingone vaccinated resident between the ages of 12 and 17 will win a four-year college scholarship to a state college or university, including room, board and tuition. The first winner of that award is Joseph Costello of Englewood in in Montgomery County.

Wednesday’s announcement comes two days after state officials pulled the first winner’s name Monday afternoon from a pool of 2,758,490 entries. The reason the drawing isn’t held live is so state officials have time to verify the winner’s information — including proof of vaccination.

The next four winners will be announced on the following dates:

  • June 2
  • June 9
  • June 16
  • June 23

The entry period for the next Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing ends May 30, 2021 at 11:59:59 p.m.

Here’s how the drawing works: Each person who enters is assigned a unique number. A computer then randomly picks one of those numbers as the winner, according to Pat McDonald, who is the Ohio Lottery’s director.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday that 2,758,490 of the 5.17 million Ohioans who have begun the process of receiving the vaccine have opted into the lottery for this week’s drawing. That means the odds of winning are relatively much better than the Mega Millions lottery, which carries winning odds of 1-in-302-million.

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Still, you’d have a better chance at getting struck by lightning, with 1-in-15,300 odds, according to the National Weather Service. Your odds of winning the Vax-a-Million prize are more on par with getting dealt a specific royal flush in poker, with odds of 1-in-2.6-million hands according to Bicycle Cards.

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