BOISE -- An American Falls man celebrated Christmas in a big way, winning a $205,000 jackpot in the Wild Card game.
Robert Bernal, who is nicknamed "Peanuts," returned home from family Christmas celebrations Wednesday night and checked his lottery tickets.
“I got home and realized it was a Powerball night, so I checked all my tickets, including Wild Card using my phone,” said Bernal. “At first I saw that I had all the numbers for Wild Card. It wasn’t until I checked it again that I realized I had the Wild Card, too. I didn’t think I was going to sleep at all, but I did pretty well!”
Wild Card is a multi-state jackpot game played in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Bernal is the 19th Idahoan to win the Wild Card jackpot.
He drove from his home in American Falls to Idaho Lottery headquarters in Boise early the next morning to claim his prize.
“I started buying ‘mistake’ tickets a few years ago after I won big on an Idaho Pick3 ticket,” said Bernal. “I was in the store last Wednesday and there was a Wild-Card multi-draw ‘mistake’ ticket they were trying to sell, so I bought it. That was the winning ticket!”
“Mistake” tickets are quite common, usually being produced in error when a clerk and player miscommunicate on the type of ticket being ordered. All lottery tickets are valid at the time they are printed, but tickets printed in “error” or by “mistake” are the property of the retail store until sold to players.
Bernal is mechanic for Con-Agra foods in American Falls, he was off work for over a year due to medical issues a few years ago. He’s been back to work for over a year, but still has many medical bills. He plans to pay down those debts and then sweeten Christmas a little late this year for his family.
Jacksons receives a $20,000 bonus from the Idaho Lottery for selling the winning ticket.