'It's life changing', Louisville woman hits KY Lottery online jackpot

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December 8, 2023

A Louisville woman won over $117,000 playing the Kentucky Lottery’s newest online game, Merry Money Bonus. Laura Risen took home the progressive jackpot amount on a 20-cent wager.

“It’s surreal,” Risen said. “It didn’t feel real, it’s a lot of money. It’s life changing.”

Risen won the jackpot while playing on the evening of December 8. She said after putting her daughter to bed, playing KY Lottery Instant Play games is a part of usual routine and this night came with a lot more excitement. She said she’s won here and there over the years but having a jackpot win was unexpected.

“It still just doesn’t really feel real,” Risen said. “You just never have had that amount of money [come up].”

After revealing the big win, Risen said she had to wake up Robbie, her husband of 25 years, to show him the win.

“I woke him up and he was like, ‘nuh-uh,’” Risen said. “I knew that he wouldn’t believe it. I hadn’t even cleared off the game yet, so it showed down at the bottom that I won the $117,000.”

The couple shared big plans for their winnings. They plan to use a portion of it to pay off living expenses. Risen also said they’ll use the winnings to pay for Christmas gifts for their children and grandchildren. A portion will be given to their church.

“It’s going to be spent on the right things because we’re not going out and blowing it,” Robbie said.

Laura and Robbie joked this would not be their last venture to Kentucky Lottery headquarters.

“I’ll probably be in here next week to claim that Mega Millions jackpot, too,” Robbie said.

The couple walked away with a check for $83,897.07 after taxes.