Saratoga County Republican Chairman John F. “Jasper” Nolan has played the New York State Lottery frequently for years and has had some small wins from time to time.
But the retired teacher woke up Saturday morning to find he’d had his biggest win yet — a $25,000 hit with a Pick 4 ticket.
“I just got lucky, that’s all,” Nolan said on Monday, confirming that he was the winner announced in a press release Monday from the state Division of Lottery.
Nolan bought the ticket Friday at the Stewart’s shop on Geyser Road, not far from his home in the Geyser Crest subdivision. He learned of his win when he picked up the next morning’s paper and checked the numbers.
Nolan has played the lottery for years, and he noted he’s been around gambling and people who gambled all his life.
Nolan grew up in Mechanicville, where illegal numbers operations were common and pretty open — though perhaps not as open as in Saratoga Springs, where everyone knew about the illegal gambling houses and casinos, and they were commonly accepted until a federal crackdown in the early 1950s closed them down.
“This whole county was Las Vegas before there was Las Vegas,” Nolan said. “The state finally got smart and started its own numbers.”
Nolan said he’s played the Lottery most his adult life. He’s played the same Lottery numbers, “1077”, for several years, but this was his first significant hit using it.
About a third of the total win will be taken out in taxes, Nolan said, reducing the total amount he will receive. “I’m going to pay off debt,” he said.
Nolan, a retired Corinth history teacher, said he’s not well-to-do, despite the Republican party’s reputation as the party of the rich. He doesn’t receive a salary for serving as county Republican chairman.
The 75-year-old has been the Republican chairman for 25 years, making him the longest-serving major party chairman in the Capital Region.