Deborah Kowalski of Riverhead won $5 million on a 100x scratch-off lottery ticket. Courtesy photo: New York Lottery

(Updated: Sept. 1, 9:03 a.m.) The number 51 made one lucky Riverhead woman $5 million richer this weekend.

Deborah Kowalski hit the $5 million jackpot on a 100X scratch-off lottery ticket Aug. 26. Kowalski purchased the winning ticket at CardSmart in the Gala Fresh shopping center on Route 58. The ticket cost her $20.

Store owner Allan Patel told RiverheadLOCAL he was notified of the winner by New York Lottery Tuesday. He said he was told the winner declined to he publicly identified.

But N.Y. Lottery subsequently issued a news release with the woman’s name and photo. Kowalski opted to receive her winnings in a single lump sum payment of $3,225,000 after required withholdings, the lottery said.

“This is our lucky spot,” said Patel, who owns 17 shops that sell lottery tickets. “This is the fifth time we’ve had a big winner here.” He has owned the CardSmart shop for 25 years, he said. He recently opened smoke shops on West Main Street and further west on Route 58 in the Warner Plaza shopping center.

In the 100X game, the purchaser has 25 chances to match a number to one of 10 numbers at the top of the ticket. Each number is associated with a priza and a multiple of the prize, from 1X to 100X. If a number matches one of the 10 numbers on the top of the ticket, the purchaser wins an amount equal to the face amount times the multiple. For example $50 in a 100X box wins $5,000. Saturday’s winning ticket had a $5 million prize for the number 50 in a 1X box. $5 million is the game’s top prize.

It’s always exciting to have a customer win a big jackpot, Patel said, though the store’s payment from N.Y. Lottery remains the same, win or lose.

As of yesterday there was one unclaimed top prize still available on the 100X ticket. Players can check the status of any New York Lottery scratch-off game by downloading the Game Report at nylottery.ny.gov.

CardSmart owner Allan Patel, right, with store manager Peter Patel outside his Eoure 58 store, where a $5 million winning scratch-off ticket was sold on Saturday.
Photo: Peter Blasl

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information provided by New York Lottery after its original publication.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.