Losing lottery tickets might pay off

May 06, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD


After about a month spent losing a Maryland Lottery game at $20 a ticket, retired Washington County science teacher Bonnie Forsyth counted her losses and mailed losing scratch-offs back to the lottery for a second chance.

Her losing tickets paid off: The 57-year-old Clear Spring woman has been named a finalist in the $20 Million Mania second-chance contest, which means she could win a $2 million prize if she's picked out of five finalists in a May 28 drawing.

"A lucky loser is what it is, but I'll take it," Forsyth said Friday during a phone interview.

Forsyth already has won $1,000 for making it to the final drawing, which will be announced at the $20 Million Mania Grand Prize Event at the Hometown Holidays celebration in Rockville, Md., said Gail Pelovitz, Maryland Lottery spokeswoman.


If Forsyth takes fifth place out of the finalists, one of whom will be announced May 18, she will win $2,500.

Forsyth said she hasn't decided what to do with any future winnings.

"I don't want to count money before I get it," she said. "Whatever I get will be extra."

Forsyth taught science for 21 years at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, followed by nine years working as Washington County Public Schools' Safe and Drug Free Schools coordinator.

It's been about a year and a half since she retired from the school system, she said. Forsyth spends her time baby-sitting her 10-month-old great-nephew, Ryder Brown.

"Teaching was easier," she said and laughed, adding that Ryder is like her grandson.

Forsyth and her husband, Donald Forsyth, a foreman at Maryland Metals, did not have children of their own, she said. Donald also is excited about the drawing, she said.

"We're both really holding our own and maintaining that we're not going to get excited until we win," she said.

Forsyth, a lifelong Washington County resident, said she bought all of her lottery tickets at Mills Liquors in Clear Spring, where her mother, Rita Clark, works part time.

She read on the back of the nonwinning $20 Million Mania tickets, which cost $20 apiece, that she could turn in losing tickets for a chance at $2 million.

Even though her friends said "you're wasting 39 cents" by sending them in, Forsyth said she thought she would give it a shot.

"It's a $20 ticket, so I may as well get my money's worth," she said.

Forsyth said she visits Atlantic City, N.J., twice a year and Las Vegas twice a year.

She said she's planning to use some of her $1,000 prize next weekend during a family trip to Ocean City, Md.

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