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DES MOINES, Iowa ñ Three stores, three people, one town. Whether it be the luck o’ the Irish or just a random winning spree, Webster City, Iowa, population 8,176, has become a hotbed for lottery winners.

Last month, Aenoi Phetxoumphone got things started by becoming Iowa’s first millionaire of the new year. Phetxoumphone, who is a native of Laos, purchased the last “Lifetime Riches” ticket on the roll at a local Casey’s store and won the top prize of $1 million.

Tony Jones, also of Webster City, has something to say about Phetxoumphone’s big win.

Jones purchased a “Red Hot Cherries” ticket a month later at Doc’s Stop, 1345 Second St. in Webster City, and ended up winning the top prize of $100,000. But he jokes that he could’ve just as easily been in Phetxoumphone’s shoes.

Jones happened to be plowing snow at the Casey’s where Phetxoumphone purchased his winning ticket the night before Phetxoumphone bought it. Jones said he played Lifetime Riches ticket numbers 108, 109 and 110. Phetxoumphone’s ticket was number 114.

Two days later, Kelly Wallen of Kamrar won the top prize of $25,000 playing the “Magic Line Bingo” instant-scratch game. Wallen also purchased her ticket at a Doc’s Stop, but this one is located at 407 Closz Drive in Webster City.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said he’s excited to see if Webster City’s run of luck really takes off now that the Mega Millions® jackpot is up to an estimated $201 million for Friday’s drawing. The Powerball jackpot is also climbing, sitting at an estimated $85 million for Saturday’s drawing.

“We’re hoping to add to our winner’s list with two of our lotto jackpots getting up there,” Rich said. “It’s another chance for folks in Webster City, or anywhere in Iowa, to dream a little and maybe even take home the big prize.”

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.6 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.2 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.|

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