LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This week, several players of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in central Arkansas claimed big prizes.

The biggest winner of the bunch, Michael Koontz of Winslow, claimed a prize of $500,000 in the lottery’s Play it Again drawing, turning an unlucky ticket into a lucky one.

Koontz’s ticket was randomly selected from eligible entries that players had submitted from non-winning instant scratch-off tickets. He did not immediately believe that he was a winner, instead thinking it might be a scam.

“I received a phone call from the lottery saying that I had won in one of those second-chance drawings,” Koontz said. “I didn’t get too excited because I thought it was a scam and was waiting on the punch line.”

After talking to his wife, Koontz found out that the winnings were real. He also said that he plans on paying bills and taking a vacation with his newfound wealth.

“I told my wife about the phone call,” Koontz stated. “So, she checked The Club website to see if my name was listed and called the lottery to confirm the win.”

The next Play It Again drawing will happen on Feb. 29 for a $250,000 lottery prize.

Another of the big winners from central Arkansas is Connie H. of North Little Rock, who bought her ticket at Walmart in Paragould.

Connie won $120,000 playing the Natural State Jackpot and said that she plans to put her lottery prize towards a vacation.

Other big winners around the Natural State include Antonio Robinson of Marion who claimed a $25,000 prize and Charles Adams of Little Rock won $15,292.

Lottery officials also said that there were winners of $10,000 each in North Little Rock, Searcy and Stuttgart.

The LOTTO jackpot for Saturday night is at an estimated $494,000.

Since 2009, the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion in proceeds for scholarships and has awarded over 720,000 college scholarships to Arkansans.