San Jose man using lottery winnings to invest in farm

February 21, 2013 7:55:22 PM PST
A routine habit turned into a winning move for one South Bay man. The lottery scratchers he regularly bought turned him into a million dollar winner.

Mark Brown won his winning scratcher ticket at Alex's 49er Inn. He actually told me he's won a few times before, but he was stunned when he won one million dollars. And now the surprise comes for everybody else, what he's planning to do with that money. He wants to spend it on his new hobby -- raising chickens.

"Exactly this right here, I bought two of the $10 tickets," Brown said. "And actually, the very first one was worth a million."

Brown showed me exactly what he did on Christmas Eve, just before he scratched his way to one million dollars in winnings at Alex's 49er Inn. It's a moment he calls surreal.

"I knew the odds, you know, it's one in 1.2 million," Brown said. "So, I never thought it would happen."

The semi-retired Ferrari salesman has spent more than 20 years buying these $10 scratchers at his favorite San Jose neighborhood bar. He's spent more money than he'd like to admit.

Alex Avlakeotes says in his 33 years owning the bar, he hasn't seen anyone win this big. And while he's thrilled to receive his $5,000 cut of the grand prize, he's happier for one of his most down-to-earth regulars.

"Anybody deserved to win, it was Mark, he really did" said Avlakeotes. "I really think, couldn't ask for a better man."

And the 50-year-old just keeps playing. $20 bill after $20 bill we saw him put into the machine.

Kira: "That one's called "Lucky for Life," is that how you're feeling right now?"
Mark: "I'm feeling pretty lucky."

But you might be surprised to learn what he'll do with the $750,000 he gets after taxes.

Brown's friend gave him a rooster about a year ago.

"And then I found out I had to get him some hens," Brown said. "I got one hen."

25 hens and two roosters later, Brown says he hits the jackpot every day. The hens lay up to 30 eggs daily. This is where he'd like to spend his winnings. More chickens, some horses, and goats, and a six acre farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"Hopefully I can find a little mini farm to just, sort of expand this," Brown said.

In addition to his dream farm, Brown is going to spend some of his money spoiling his two daughters, who are five and 27-years-old.

But get this, those scratchers we recorded him buying today, he won $60 from them. He just keeps on winning.


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