‘Close as can be’ sisters split Powerball prize after one bought the winning ticket

Two sisters in Arkansas had an agreement with each other — if one ever won the lottery, they’d evenly split the prize money.

Denise Horta and Tammy Lee are “as close as can be,” and now they’ll be sharing a huge Powerball win, according to the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

“We live together, so I told Tammy to pick me up a Powerball ticket since she was going to the store. She also purchased a Natural State Jackpot ticket,” Horta told lottery officials. “That night, I was getting ready to shower and decided to check the tickets on the Arkansas lottery app.”

While the Natural State Jackpot game ticket wasn’t a winner, the Powerball ticket was worth more than she could believe.

The Hot Springs Village sisters had matched the four white balls and the Powerball during the May 10 drawing, which qualified them for a $50,000 prize, according to a May 15 news release. But because Lee had added the Power Play option, their prize was multiplied by 10.

This meant they had actually won $500,000.

“Denise and I double-checked the ticket together,” Lee said when claiming the prize. “We were still unsure because we had never seen the 10X multiplier before, so we called our sister and brother-in-law in California to confirm our win. Our brother-in-law is a lottery expert.”

Horta plans to use her share of the winnings to pay off credit cart debt and pay down their mortgage, according to the release. Lee plans to pay bills, buy a handicap-accessible van for her son and save the rest.

The winning Powerball ticket — a Quick Pick — was sold at East Gate Food Mart in Hot Springs Village, about 50 miles southwest of Little Rock.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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