ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A “lovely, very practical, very laid-back” Rio Rancho couple claimed a $7.6 million Hot Lotto jackpot from the New Mexico Lottery on Tuesday.
Doug and Roberta Barnard beat odds of 1 in 29 million to win the jackpot, after having begun playing Hot Lotto for the first time about two weeks ago.
Upon checking his winning numbers on the lottery’s website, the practical Mr. Barnard thought, “OK, what do I do now,” he told lottery officials in Albuquerque.
He sent a text message to his wife: “Call Me. Big News,” he understated.
Doug found out about the big news at about 8 a.m., and by the time the couple met with lottery officials at 11 a.m., they had already gotten in touch with a financial adviser, said Linda Hamlin with the New Mexico Lottery.
After paying off their mortgage and buying a new car, the couple will invest the rest of the money, they said.
Hamlin said a second big surprise came for the couple when they learned the $7.6 million winning amount was the after-taxes sum.
“They had already assumed that after taxes had been removed that they would have about 3.7 million, but when they found out they were receiving the entire $7.6 million, Mrs. Barnard audibly gasped,” Hamlin said.
“It was fun to see, not only how excited they already were, but how much more excited they were when they got their second surprise of the morning,” Hamlin said.
The Barnards are looking forward to celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in December.
“My budget for an anniversary gift just went way up,” Mr. Barnard said.