James Leroy Ward of McComb, Miss., bought a Louisiana Lottery Millionaire Raffle ticket at his ex-brother-in-law's store and ended up matching one of the five $50,000 winning numbers drawn on April 15.

"I couldn't believe it when I checked the numbers. I even asked my sister to double check for me. My wife thought I was lying," shared a surprised Ward after claiming his prize at Louisiana Lottery headquarters in  Baton Rouge.
Ward's raffle ticket matched raffle number 204708 to win his prize. He said he plans to save his winnings.

Ward, age 44, purchased his winning ticket at T.G. Mini Mart #2 on Highway 51 South in Tangipahoa. This retailer will receive a $500 bonus for selling Ward his winning ticket.

Millionaire Raffle, the Lottery's first-ever raffle game, offered players the best odds ever to win $1 million with only 300,000 tickets available for sale. In addition to the $1 million top prize, five winning raffle numbers worth $50,000 each and 500 winning raffle numbers worth $500 each were also drawn. In all, 506 raffle numbers won $1.5 million in cash prizes.

The $1 million winning raffle ticket was purchased at Studebaker Texaco Travel Plaza on Frontage Road in Rayne. Besides Ward's ticket, the other $50,000 winning raffle tickets were purchased at Jim's Circle S Food Store on Highway 41 in Pearl River; Circle K #9727 on Plank Road in Baton Rouge; Wego Texaco on Westbank Expressway in Westwego; and Riverside Travel Center on Pump Slough Road in Pearl River. 

As with all Lottery draw-style games, prizes must be claimed within 180 days of the drawing, which is Oct. 12, 2008 for Millionaire Raffle. Original tickets are needed to claim any prize. 

More information on Millionaire Raffle, including a printable list of all winning raffle numbers, can be found by clicking here.

Players must be at least 21 years of age to purchase Lottery tickets. In addition, the Lottery cautions players to play responsibly. Help is available to those who may have a gambling problem by calling toll-free, 1-877-770-7867.