Tickets for the Montana Millionaire drawing sold out in a record-setting six days - sales started on Monday, November 1, and the last of the 250,000 tickets was sold on Saturday afternoon (November 6).
Tickets were $20 each, and were sold at most convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores. Last year, there were 180,000 tickets available, and they sold out on November 23.
The biggest change from years past: this year, the annual event will feature two million-dollar grand prizes. There will also be two "early bird" drawings - the first will be for $25,000 on November 26, and the second will be for $15,000 on December 17.
Unlike a lottery game, Montana Millionaire is a raffle, meaning all of the prize money will be paid out.
Previous winners of the Montana Millionaire grand prize :
- 2020: Megan Thorstenson, Butte
- 2019: Casey Petero, Columbia Falls
- 2018: Richard Mai, Billings
- 2017: Amy Lambert, Butte
- 2016: Daniel Thompson, Great Falls
- 2015: Jack Barisich, Winnett
- 2014: Jeffrey Fallang, East Helena
- 2013: Russell Miller, Columbia Falls
- 2012: Sam Polesky, Laurel
- 2011: Vern & Mara Wallace, Billings
- 2010: William Morse, Billings
- 2009: Dana Delguerra, Great Falls
- 2008: Mike & Carole McGivern, Butte
- 2007: Gary & BJ Klipstein, Billings
For this year's raffle, the state eliminated some mid-level cash prizes and ramped up its instant wins, meaning more opportunities to win $100 or $500 on the spot. One of those $500 instant winners happened at McFiny's in Billings.
"He bought two tickets," said Matt Pederson, a McFiny's employee. "One of them was just a regular $20 and then one was a $500 winner, but he gets to hold on to both of those tickets. And then it prints out another little smaller slip that says your amount, $100 or $500. They handed out even more of those this year as well of both of those winning amounts."
McFiny's on 17th Street West and Avenue C has been the place for big winners in past lotteries.
"Incredibly busy," Pederson said. "McFiny's has actually won two of the million-dollar tickets out of here in the past years. So we have people show up from Kalispell, we have people show up from Missoula, like Wyoming, all over the place, come buy them like in this store."
"The word around Billings kind of goes out that McFiny's is pretty popular for big hits," said McFiny's customer Matt Kurtz. "And last year I came. I get them for stocking stuffers and trying to win myself."
"Probably two chances to win, so I think that's the reason why everybody's like wanting to go get them," said Lynelle Bixby, who along with her husband bought tickets at McFiny's.
Results from a poll on KRTV.com earlier in the week showed that many people weren't content to buy just one ticket:
"We weren't expecting it to go so quick," said Jennifer McKee, Montana Lottery communications manager. "It's got to be a combination of lots of things. The game sold 600% above where it was in past in the year before beginning on day one."
Poly Food Basket prints out periodic reports on millionaire sales.
"It's going so much faster than I've ever seen it before," said Sage D'Ambrosia, a manager at Poly Food Basket. "You know, typically if you were to sell somebody like five or ten tickets all in one batch, there's one or two of them that'll be sequential with each other, like 58 and 59. This year we've been seeing four or five and six apart from each other and today we've had as many as 12 numbers apart from each other."
"I just always wish and dream," Bixby said.
Two early bird drawings are schedueld, $25,000 on November 25 and $15,000 on December 17.
McKee said the drawing dates have yet to be determined for the two $1 million dollar prizes.
Click here to visit the Montana Millionaire website.