LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Jacksonville man won $40,000 on a Mega Millions ticket nearly five months ago but didn’t claim his prize until Wednesday, May 15 at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Claim Center. 

Edward Hamilton said he purchased the ticket at Kroger, 103 Gregory Place in Jacksonville for the Dec. 14 drawing.

Because Hamilton paid an additional dollar for the Megaplier, which was four for the night’s drawing, his prize was increased to $40,000. He only lacked having the fifth white ball number or would have won the $262 million jackpot.

Hamilton told lottery officials he discovered he won the Mega Millions prize back in December but decided that he wanted to wait until Wednesday, May 15 to collect his winnings.  

For an online game like Mega Millions, players have 180 days from the draw date to claim a prize.

“I wanted to get something done first,” said Hamilton. “I’m a writer and wanted to finish my non-fiction book before I claimed my prize. I developed a passion for writing at a young age and have been writing professionally for over 10 years.”

Hamilton first told his son. He said he plans to invest and have fun with his winnings, all the while celebrating his 10th year of sobriety next month.