Virginia woman cashes $100K lottery ticket with hours to spare

Jay Busbee

If you're going to win the lottery, you've got to first remember that you've played the lottery. Karen Gentry remembered with only hours to spare, and she's a fair bit wealthier for it.

On Tuesday, Karen Gentry of Alexandria, Va., just happened to see a news report that a Virginia Cash 5 winning ticket worth $100,000 was only hours from expiring. 

"Would you leave a $100,000 lying around on your coffee table for anyone to grab?" ran the Virginia Lottery's plea to players. "Probably not. But one Virginia Lottery player may be unknowingly doing just that."

Then Gentry remembered that she'd bought a ticket a few months back and had tucked it away in her kitchen.

“So I looked, and there it was!” she told the Virginia Lottery. “I called my husband and he said, ‘Yeah, right.’”

The winning numbers, selected by computer, were 6-15-18-23-32. By law, lottery tickets expire 180 days after the drawing. Gentry made it to her local lottery office with just four hours to spare. 

If she hadn't claimed the money, it would have gone to the state's Literary Fund, which is used for educational purposes like technology upgrades. But don't get mad at Gentry for claiming what's rightfully hers: since 1988, the Virginia Lottery has transferred more than $234 million in unclaimed prizes to the Literary Fund. 

So, yeah, come on, Virginia: Collect your winnings.

Contact Jay Busbee at or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.