Press Release

Moses Bittok

September 21, 2005


On the same day he became a U.S. citizen, a West Des Moines man learned he had won a lottery jackpot. “That’s a double-lucky win,” Moses Bittok said Monday as he claimed his $1.89 million Hot Lotto jackpot. “It’s almost like you adopted a country and then they netted you $1.8 million. It doesn’t happen anywhere – I guess only in America.”

On Friday, Bittok took the U.S. citizenship oath at the federal building in Des Moines, then he took some time to shop with his family and run errands.

Before the day was done, they stopped at a gas station and checked his Hot Lotto ticket from Wednesday’s drawing (Sept. 21). The print-out from the lottery’s validations equipment stated that Bittok would need to claim his prize at lottery headquarters. Bittok then asked for a print-out of the winning numbers from Wednesday’s drawing.

“For some reason, I’m calm,” he said. His wife Leonida didn’t have the same reaction.

“I’m the one who screamed!” she said with a laugh.

Bittok, a correctional officer at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women in Mitchellville, said he doesn’t know exactly what he will do with his winnings, but a college fund for the couple’s 4-year-old daughter Mindy is top priority.

“I know she’s No. 1 – college, that’s the biggest thing,” he said.

Lee and Mindy accompanied Bittok to the lottery on Monday as he claimed his prize. He chose to receive his jackpot winnings in annuity payments over 25 years, an annual payment of $75,600 ($52,920 after withholding taxes).

Bittok, 40, became the fifth Iowa Lottery player to win a Hot Lotto jackpot. Originally from Kenya, Bittok came to the United States to attend college in Minnesota, then moved to Iowa with his job.

He bought his winning ticket was purchased at Hy-Vee at 1725 74th St. in West Des Moines, where he used to work part-time. The winning numbers in Wednesday’s Hot Lotto drawing were: 7-19-24-31-34 and Hot Ball 3.

Bittok’s lottery ticket was the 85th purchased in Iowa to win a prize of $1 million or more.

Hot Lotto began in April 2002, offering Powerball-style play but with easier odds. Iowa has had four jackpot winners in the game.

Darlene Becker of Dubuque, a 64-year-old grandmother, won the first jackpot claimed in the game, a $3.6 million prize from the drawing on July 10, 2002. Don Sporrer of Denison, a retired IBP worker, became Iowa’s second Hot Lotto jackpot winner, claiming $2.7 million from the drawing on Christmas Day 2002. Todd Brobston, who works for the Fort Madison street department, won the $1.3 million jackpot in the Nov. 1 drawing. And Danny Good, a Des Moines police officer, won a $1.65 million Hot Lotto jackpot on Dec. 20, 2003.

Hot Lotto players choose five numbers from a pool of 39 and another number, called the Hot Ball, from a pool of 19. The Hot Lotto jackpot starts at $1 million and grows until someone wins it. Tickets in the game cost $1. Hot Lotto drawings are held at about 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, just after the Powerball drawings.

Hot Lotto tickets are sold in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Since the Iowa Lottery’s inception in 1985, more than $1.9 billion has been awarded in prizes and more than $935 million has been raised for state programs.

Listen to an interview with the lucky winner, Moses Bittok!
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