Big winner plans to be cautious

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 16, 2009

NATCHEZ — John McIntyre doesn’t look different than he did at the beginning of the month. But there is something that’s significantly different about him — his tax bracket.

At 66, the retired jack-of-all-trades saw 20 years of playing the Louisiana Lottery come to a head when he won $1 million — approximately $700,000 after taxes — after he matched every number but the powerball in the May 2 drawing.

“I’ve been playing for a long time, so I’m just getting a little back,” McIntyre said.

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But it was a couple of days before he knew he was the winner.

He missed the Saturday drawing, so the following Monday McIntyre called his great-niece, who looked up the winning numbers on the Internet.

He wrote the numbers on a piece of paper, which he left sitting on the couch.

“I had been in the bedroom watching television, and I came and got the paper and took it back to look at the numbers I played, and I said, ‘It looks like I caught three numbers. No, four. No, five — everything but the powerball,” McIntyre said.

That five-number match would have been worth approximately $200,000, but for a dollar, McIntyre had upgraded the ticket with the Power Play option — bringing the total ticket cost to $2.

“The Power Play is something I have done since they added it a few years ago,” he said.

After winning and claiming his prize, McIntyre said he tried to keep it quiet and has tried to go about his normal routine.

“It hasn’t changed me at all,” he said. “It isn’t enough to change me.”

But there are some things that are changing.

McIntyre said he is looking to buy a house and some furniture to go in it, but he plans to sit on the rest of the money and just use it to live comfortably.

He’s also going to keep his spending in check to make sure he can meet his new tax obligations, he said.

“I don’t want to win the money and then end up owing for it,” McIntyre said.

When he played the lottery, McIntyre played approximately $20 a week, he said.

“I’ll probably still play, but not as much as I have,” he said.

The winning ticket was sold at the B-Kwik Food Mart in Vidalia.