Plaid Pantry among state’s luckiest lottery stores

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Vancouver lotto players who dream of winning a windfall don't have to go far to increase their odds.

The downtown Plaid Pantry has been named one of the state's luckiest stores, according to Washington's Lottery, which listed the store as one of six that have sold the most winning tickets during the program's 30-year history. Since 1982, nine jackpot-winning tickets have been sold by the store at 514 Washington St., just across the state line from Oregon. It formerly was the Day & Nite Market, with its familiar upside-down banner. That store closed in December 2007 and the building was remodeled and leased to Plaid Pantry in 2009.

In the state's "Luckiest Stores All Stars" list, the Vancouver Plaid Pantry was the lottery program's second-highest issuer of jackpot tickets sold in the state. Seattle's Hilltop Red Apple on Beacon Avenue South was listed as No. 1 for selling 16 jackpot winners.

Washington's Lottery marks its 30th anniversary this year. In that time, the program has generated $3 billion on odds that insure the house comes out ahead in the long run.

This year's state lottery sales added up to the highest total on record, approximately $535 million over the last 12 months ending in June, said Arlen Harris, a lottery spokesman. The final amount could be even higher, he said, adding that state officials are in the process of tallying up the final receipts.

"We'll have a very final number in two or three weeks," Harris said. He said state sales received a big boost in March when the multi-state "Mega Millions" game jackpot climbed to more than $656 million. The winnings were shared by a group of ticket holders.

Washington's Lottery includes games Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, Daily Game, Daily Keno and Scratch. Money generated by the games supplies the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, which supports scholarships for college-bound students and early childhood education programs.