HELENA - Sheree Welch, 19, of Wolf Point, drove 411 miles yesterday – all the way from her hometown to the Montana Lottery headquarters - not entirely believing she had actually won $12,000.

Welch won big on a White Hot Bingo Scratch ticket she bought at the Town Pump in Wolf Point. Her sister noticed she'd won even before Welch did.

"She said, 'You just won $12,000,' and I didn't believe her," Welch said. "I didn't really believe her until I got here."

Welch is an avid Montana Lottery player, playing mostly Scratch games. This was her first big win.

She doesn't have specific plans for her winnings. A mother of two young children, Welch said she wanted to "go clothes shopping for my babies."

The Montana Lottery was created by voter initiative in 1986. Since its inception, the lottery has paid out $497 million in prizes and transferred approximately $224 million to help support state programs.

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The Montana Lottery will have four new Scratch games when retailers place their next Tel-Sell order. Starting on February 3, the lineup includes two Crosswords and a Slingo, along with a fun $1 game called Cash Cow. It pays to keep inventory fresh, so make sure to get a few new games in your dispensers! The chart provides a quick overview and more information is available at http://www.montanalottery.com/scratch.

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Here are the statistics for Montana Sports Action Fantasy Football for the ‎week ending Jan. 24, 2016.

Total Prize Pool‎: $5,009.70

1st Prize winners:
Diamond Jim's Russell, Missoula, $2,504.90 (50.00% of prize pool)

2nd Prize winners:
Texas Club, Miles City, $1,502.90 (30.00% of prize pool)

3rd Prize winners:
Chance's R Casino, Butte, $1,001.90 (20.00% of prize pool)

1‎st Prize Point Accumulation‎: ‎126.70

2‎nd Prize Point Accumulation‎: ‎119.40

3‎rd Prize Point Accumulation‎: 118.60

Montana Sports Action is a Fantasy Sports Wagering game facilitated by the ‎Montana Lottery on behalf of the Montana Board of Horse Racing‎.‎

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HELENA - Tonya Barton-Torres, of Belgrade, won a $175,000 prize with a "Diamond Dazzler" Scratch ticket purchased from the Kagy Korner at 1809 S. Tracy Ave. in Bozeman.

Barton-Torres got the ticket as a Christmas gift from her father, Douglas, who told her he knew "it was a winner," when he gave it to her.

Her father was right. Yet when Barton-Torres scratched the ticket Christmas morning, and saw she'd won the jackpot prize, she stayed mum.

She put the ticket in a safe deposit box and told no one other than her parents about the win.

The family drove over to Helena Thursday to claim their winnings at the Montana Lottery Headquarters. Her children didn't know the real purpose of the trip. Barton-Torres told them they were going to visit their aunt.

Once they were on the highway, she handed the winning ticket to her oldest son, David.

"Take a look at this," she said.

David dropped the ticket in disbelief.

Barton-Torres has been planning the best way to use her winnings since Christmas morning. First, she wants to share the prize with her father and two brothers. She's also looking for a new home - a dream house where her kids can grow up.

The Montana Lottery was created by voter referendum in 1986. Since then, it has paid over $497 million in prizes and returned approximately $224 million to the State of Montana.

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Family Celebrates with Lottery Tickets, Wins $1 Million Prize

BLACK EAGLE - The Barisich family has a Christmas tradition: Montana Lottery tickets.

All the adults in an extended Montana family that stretches from Great Falls to Billings to Winnett exchange Scratch tickets as presents. They always buy Montana Millionaire tickets. And they always have one rule: If anybody wins, the winner splits the prize with the person who gave the ticket.

But nobody ever really thought they'd win.

This Christmas, the family's luck changed: Jack Barisich, an 86-year-old retired snow plow driver with the Montana Department of Transportation living in Winnett got the winning Montana Millionaire ticket from, Stacie Schissler, of Great Falls, a relative of his son's.

They have both split a million dollars.

"I just couldn't believe it," Schissler said.

Barisich had already returned to Winnett after Christmas when Montana Lottery officials in Helena drew his lucky number four days after the holiday. His son called him but Barisich didn't believe him.

"It's still a little hard to believe, to tell you the truth," Barisich said.

The family kept their ticket locked in a safe until they could all come to Helena to validate their win and claim their prize. They met with Montana Lottery officials earlier this month.

Schissler bought the ticket at the Pit Stop, Raceway Café and Black Eagle Brewing Co., in Black Eagle. It's not her usual place to buy lottery tickets, but she was in Black Eagle for a work holiday party and went in.

The Montana Lottery is in Black Eagle today celebrating the win with the owners of the Pit Stop- the folks who helped two Montanans split a million dollars.

Right now, neither Schissler nor Barisich have specific plans for the winnings. They're still taking it all in.

"This doesn't happen very often," Barisich said.

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