Scratching at this Safeway in Everett can pay off

The store is the luckiest place in the region to buy scratch tickets with prizes of $1,000 or more.

EVERETT — A trip to this Safeway store might be worth the scratch.

Washington’s Lottery deemed the Safeway at 5802 134th Place SE as one of the state’s top 10 “Luckiest Stores” to buy scratch tickets. It was the only place in Snohomish County to make the lucky list, which is based on 2017 sales of tickets worth $1,000 or more.

“The Everett store was tied for second along with three others on the list,” lottery spokeswoman Ann Marie Ricard said.

There are about 3,600 lottery retailers in the state offering scratch tickets from $1 to $30.

The beige Safeway that blends into suburbia doesn’t look like a jackpot hotspot. Inside, it’s groceries as usual.

Behind the customer service desk are a few lottery “$1,000 winners” printouts, but you have to crane your neck to see them.

Assistant store director John Gillespie wasn’t aware of the title bestowed on his Safeway for scratch tickets.

“That’s exciting. I better start buying them,” he said when informed of the distinction. “I see a lot of people playing.”

The largest payout the store can make on a ticket is $600. Higher amounts require a trip to a lottery office, so it’s up to lottery sales reps and shoppers to share the good news.

“I know of one lady who’s a very good customer who told us she won $10,000,” Gillespie said. “She bought more tickets.”

He said the lottery vending machine has stirred more attention since a store remodel last summer put it in full view.

It faces the checkout stands, tempting shoppers with visions of riches. If there’s a wait, the service desk is a few more steps.

Shopper Rick Berry, of Everett, often springs for a $5 Centipedes scratch ticket on his way out.

Sometimes, he gets a winner, such as the recent $5 prize on the ticket based on the retro Atari game. Rather than break even, he exchanged it for another with hopes of scratching $50,000.

“I treat this like fishing,” Berry said. “You can spend $3 or $5 on a lure and throw it out there and might catch it on a stump and lose it. Or you might catch a big fish.”

So far, Berry has caught a few choice arthropods, at best.

“I’ve never had anything over 200 bucks,” he said. “I am working on it. You never know.”

Two of the four Centipedes tickets with $50,000 prizes remain to be caught.

State lottery players took home $422.5 million last year. Of course, they spent considerably more money playing.

The lottery website says that 62.5 percent of revenue goes for prizes. The rest goes for such things as education, administration and problem gambling.

The Hilltop Red Apple on Beacon Avenue in Seattle was deemed the state’s luckiest store. Other charmed shops are in Renton, Federal Way, Auburn, Puyallup, Covington and Tacoma.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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