In 1996 the Michigan Lottery joined with five other
state lotteries -- Georgia,
Virginia -- to form a new multistate
lottery game called The Big Game. At the time, the Powerball game had already
made a name for itself, offering up giant jackpots sometimes exceeding $40
It didn't take long before The Big Game was offering up giant
jackpots of its own. Players in all six states began seeing jackpots at levels
they had never seen before -- frequently topping $50 million and eventually
reaching almost $200 million for the first time on April 6, 1999. A lucky lady
from Boston, Massachusetts was the sole ticket holder for the $197 million Big
Game jackpot in the April 6, 1999 drawing.
As the jackpots continued to
grow, so did The Big Game itself. Big Game drawings were initially only
conducted on Friday evenings. Because the game became popular so quickly,
Tuesday evening drawings were added on February 10, 1998 -- giving players two
chances per week to win big.
On May 28, 1999, The Big Game saw another
significant change when New Jersey joined The Big Game, bringing the number of
state lotteries participating in the multi-state game to seven.
May 9, 2000
marked yet another giant milestone for The Big Game when the jackpot reached an
all-time record high at a whopping $363 million -- still the largest lottery
jackpot ever in North American history! Two lucky winners split that enormous
jackpot -- one from Michigan and the other from Illinois.
Larry Ross of
Shelby Township was the lucky winner from Michigan who won half of the $363
million jackpot on May 9, 2000. Ross chose to collect his $181.5 million share
of the jackpot winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment for $90.3 million (the
estimated present cash value of the jackpot share before taxes). While he holds
the distinction of winning the largest jackpot in Michigan Lottery history,
there are eight other lucky Big Game jackpot winners from Michigan.
addition to the nine Big Game jackpot winners in Michigan, 359 Michigan Lottery
players hailing from Detroit to Grand Marais have each won the $150,000
second-tier prize in The Big Game. Since The Big Game started in 1996, the
Michigan Lottery has sold over 760 million tickets and awarded over $391
million in cash prizes to lucky winners statewide!
The Big Game offers nine
ways to win cash prizes ranging from $1 to the jackpot, including a second-tier
prize of $150,000 for matching the first five numbers. Big Game tickets are
available in Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey
and Virginia. Wagers cost $1 each and can be purchased at more than 7,000
Michigan Lottery retailers statewide. For more information about The Big Game,
you can also visit The Big Game's Web site at:
Big Game drawings are conducted every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. The
next Big Game drawing is Friday, September 7 with an estimated jackpot of $7
million. SOURCE: Michigan Lottery.
(For each $1 bet)
HOW TO WIN A PRIZE*
- Pick five (5) numbers out of the field of fifty
- Pick one (1) number, (Your Big Money number), out
of the field of twenty-five (25).
Your Number matchesOut of One (1)
- For each drawing, five (5) winning numbers out a
field of fifty (50) and one (1) winning Big Money Number out of a field of
twenty-five (25) will be randomly drawn.
- For each $1 bet that you make, match your
selections for that bet against those drawn by the Lottery and win as follows:
Out of Five (5)
Big Money Number
||1 in 62
THE OVERALL ODDS OF WINNING A PRIZE IN THE
BIG GAME IS 1:22.4
Approximately 50% of the amount of money wagered on each
drawing goes into the prize pool.
*Should prize liability exceed available
prize pool funds by $50,000,000 or more, second through fifth prizes shall be
paid on a parimutuel rather than fixed prize basis. The parimutuel formula is
detailed in the Rules and Regulations or Administrative Bulletin issued
**The jackpot prize will be paid in twenty (20) equal
installments. The jackpot amount will be divided by the number of winning
jackpot tickets to determine the prize amount for the holder(s) of each
Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey
and Virginia participate in the lottery.
Game Facts & Figures:
Contact Name and
- DRAWINGS: Every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 p.m.
- FIRST DRAWING: September 6, 1996;
- 7 BIG GAME STATES: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia;
- PREVIOUS RECORD JACKPOT: $197 million on April 6,
1999 (1 jackpot winner, in MA);
- LENGTH OF ANNUAL JACKPOT PAYMENTS: 26 years with a
- NUMBER OF JACKPOT WINNERS TO DATE: VA (2), GA (6),
IL (10), MD (4), MI (6), MA (9);
- BIG GAME SALES TO DATE: $1,741,444,395;
- PRIZES AWARDED TO DATE: $910,750,740.
Lottery, Rebecca Paul, President & CEO, 404-215-5062;
Lottery, Lori Montana, Director, 312-793-1681;
Lottery, Buddy Roogow, Director, 410-318-6370;
Lottery, Jay Mitchell, Executive Director, 781-849-5500;
Lottery, Don Gilmer, Commissioner, 517-335-5648;
- New Jersey
Lottery, Virginia Haines, Executive Director, 609-599-5900;
Lottery, Penelope Kyle, Executive Director, 804-692-7100
Illinois Big Game Winner
Claims $110 Million
CHICAGO, Illinois (May 17, 2002) --
Pedro Sotomil, representing the PFK Family Partnership, came forward today to
claim their portion of the April 16, $331 million Big Game jackpot. Two other
winners, one in Georgia and New Jersey, have already claimed their
The day after the Big Game drawing, Sotomils wife mentioned
that she heard the winning ticket had been sold in suburban Burbank. "I
thought, Why should it be me? But I went out to my car to check
anyway," said Sotomil, age 53. At first glance, he said, "I have the last
number" (big money ball). Then, he said, "I saw I had ALL the numbers. I
couldnt believe it!"
Today, the Partnership was presented with an
oversized, commemorative check for $110 million during a press conference at
the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. "Were very excited to congratulate the PFK
Family Partnership today on winning the second largest jackpot in Illinois
history," said Illinois Lottery Director Lori Montana. "Illinois is the most
winningest Big Game/Mega Millions state and the PFK Family Partnership is our
23rd grand prize winner."
Sotomil and members of the PFK Family
Partnership have been playing the Lottery together for over five years. Sotomil
purchased the ticket at Speedway in Burbank. He never spends more than five
dollars, because he said, "Five is lucky to me."
Members of the PFK Family
Partnership contacted Philip Corboy of the Chicago law firm Corboy &
Demetrio to assist in organizing a team of advisers. While the members of the
Partnership have no immediate plans for their winnings, a member of their
advisory team, Neil Weinberg an attorney of the Chicago law firm Much Shelist
said, "Members of the PFK Family Partnership are very excited and are getting
sound advice in planning for their future."
The ticket was purchased on
April 16, 2002 at Speedway in suburban Burbank. The winner purchased $5.00 in
tickets and chose a quick pick. The winning numbers were 7-10-25-26-27 and the
Big Money Ball number 23.
Effective Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Mega Millions succeeded the Big Game,
which has been played across the country since September 1996. The final
drawing for the BIG GAME was held on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 and was worth $19
million. The first Mega Millions drawing will be held today, Friday, May 17,
2002 and is worth an estimated $27 million since there was no winner from
Founded in 1974, the
Illinois Lottery is a state agency with
annual sales of more than $1.5 billion. All Lottery profits are deposited in
the states Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools. More Lottery
information is available at www.illinoislottery.com
CONTACT: Lisa Miner, +1-312-255-3056, or cell, +1-773-550-1581, or Kellie
Houck, +1-312-255-3042, cell, +1-312-933-4903, both of Hill and Knowlton, or
Max Montgomery of Illinois Lottery, Office, +1-312-793-3042, cell, +1-217-836-
SOURCE: Illinois Lottery.
Scalpers Cash in on Big
NEW YORK (April 17, 2002) -- Players' were
not the only ones hoping to make money on the Big Game lottery, scalpers around
the city yesterday were hawking Big Game tickets to people glad to pay double
to avoid............. Subscribers
Big Game Drawing Yields
ATLANTA, Georgia (April 17, 2002) - Three
lucky people are holding winning tickets for the $325 million Big Game jackpot,
lottery officials announced Wednesday............. Subscribers
Mega Millions Set to
Sweep The Nation May 15
THE MEGA MILLIONS / BIG GAME MEDIA
CENTER (April 10, 2002) The nine member states comprising the BIG GAME
Group today announced the launch of Mega
Millions, the nations newest and most exciting multi-state,
mega-jackpot lottery game.
Mega Millions will succeed the BIG GAME, which
has been played across the country since September 1996. The final drawing for
the BIG GAME will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2002..............Full story
New Big Game Jackpots
Could Hit $500 Million
DETROIT (March 18, 2002) --
officials won't say whether the first set of 50 numbers will grow or whether
the new digits will push.................Subscribers
New York Lottery Joins
Big Game, Plans Under Way To Develop New Mega-Jackpot Game
SCHENECTADY, NY (December 19, 2001) -- New
York Lottery Director Margaret R. DeFrancisco today announced the New York
Lottery will work with seven other Lottery jurisdictions that currently
comprise the Big Game Group, to develop a brand new multi-jurisdiction
mega-jackpot game to build on the success of the Big Game. The Lottery
jurisdictions involved in the collaborative development process include
Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Jersey, and
"Our players and retailers
have been looking forward to this day for quite some time," said New York
Lottery Director Margaret R. DeFrancisco. "We are very pleased that all New
Yorkers will have the opportunity to share in the kind of excitement that only
a mega-jackpot game can create. The only thing that pleases us more is knowing
that the revenue generated from ticket sales in New York will be used to
support New York schools." Once fully operational, New York Division of Budget
estimates sales from the multi-jurisdiction game will be more than $300 million
per year, producing revenues of $145 million or more to support education in
New York State.
A draft of an independent market research report indicates
86 percent of current New York Lottery players, who represent more than
two-thirds of all New Yorkers, are interested in participating in a
multi-jurisdiction, mega-jackpot game. In 1999 and 2000, the New York Lottery
featured a limited-time, promotional mega-jackpot game, Millennium Millions, to
satisfy requests from New York Lottery players and retailers. The promotional
game generated a record-breaking $121 million in sales and $63 million in
revenue for schools in six weeks.
Lottery Corporation President & CEO Rebecca Paul said she was thrilled
at the prospect of working not only with New York but all the Big Game Lottery
jurisdictions to develop a new mega-jackpot game. "This is an historic moment
in the Lottery industry Worldwide," said Paul. "We are coming together as a
team to develop the new standard for a multi-jurisdiction Lottery product. We
are excited to be a part of this momentous event."
Illinois Lottery Director Lori Montana
echoed Pauls comments. "We are already working on defining the parameters
for a new game," said Montana. "We look forward to drawing on New Yorks
game development expertise to add an extra element of excitement and surprise
to the new product."
Lottery Executive Director Buddy Roogow said the addition of New York to
the Big Game Group "marks the beginning of a great new era in the Lottery
industry" and commended New York on the thoroughness of its decision-making
The New York Lottery held informational meetings with the
jurisdictions representing both Powerball and the Big Game. Director
DeFrancisco applauded all concerned for being "gracious, forthcoming and
cooperative in providing us with the information needed to make the best
decision for New York State."
Massachusetts State Lottery Executive
Director Jay Mitchell said he, too, looked forward to working with New York
"and being able to share expertise not only in the development and launch
phases of the new game, but to ensure its continued marketability in major
metropolitan centers and smaller communities across all jurisdictions."
Michigan Bureau of State Lottery
Commissioner James Kipp said, "New York shares many of the same views about
the current and future state of multi-jurisdiction games," said Kipp.
"Were pleased to have the opportunity to work with them and other Big
Game jurisdictions to ensure the future growth and vitality of this and other
New Jersey Lottery
Executive Director Virginia Haines said she is very excited to have our
neighboring state, New York, join the Big Game. "This partnership will not only
be successful for the states involved with the Big Game, but for our lottery
players as well."
Executive Director Penelope W. Kyle said she welcomed the opportunity "to build
a better mega-jackpot lottery game that will garner the interest of all current
and prospective lottery players."
She added that Director DeFrancisco's
team asked excellent questions during the process. "It was very clear that the
New York Lottery staff members put a lot of thought into this decision. We are
delighted they chose to be a part of our group."
The new game, which has
yet to be named, is expected to be on sale in Spring 2002.
SOURCE: New York
Lottery (Website: www.NYLottery.org).
CONTACT: Carolyn Hapeman, Telephone: (518) 388-3415, E-mail:
Two Winning Tickets in
$115 Million Big Game Jackpot
ATLANTA, Georgia (September
2, 2001) -- There are two jackpot tickets in the latest mega-lottery.
Lottery officials say both of the tickets matching the six winning numbers in
last night's Big Game lotto drawing were sold in
Each ticket's worth $57.5
Twenty-six tickets matched five numbers -- they're worth
The winning numbers were: four, seven, eight,
12, and 38. The Big Money Ball number was 16.
The Big Game is played in
Copyright 2001 Associated Press. Used with
Judge Orders Lottery to
Release Disputed Jackpot
ATLANTA, Georgia (June 21, 2001) --
A month and a half after 23 airport cabbies won $49 million in a Big Game
drawing, a judge in Atlanta ordered the Georgia lottery to pay out the cash, the
'Atlanta Journal-Constitution' reported yesterday.
said Fulton Superior Court Judge Alice Bonner issued an order Wednesday that
allows the cabbies to proceed with their lawsuits, but directed the Georgia
Lottery Corp. to pay out the winnings, which had been sitting in the bank.
The lottery received Judge Bonner's order at 10 a.m., and by 12:45 p.m. the
$49.4 million was wired to Sankofa Inc., the corporation the winners created to
receive the money. Each of the 23 drivers will receive $2.1 million before
taxes. While the May 4 Big Game jackpot was $90 million, the group selected the
cash option, which paid substantially less.
Taxi Drivers in Court,
Still Awaiting Jackpot
ATLANTA, Georgia (June 19, 2001) --
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alice Bonner held a three-hour hearing on
Monday into a dispute involving a $49 million Big Game jackpot.
of taxi drivers have filed three lawsuits saying they participated in a lottery
pool with fellow airport drivers but were shut out of the winnings. They've
asked the judge to prevent the lottery from paying out the jackpot until a jury
can decide who should get a portion of the prize.
The judge heard
arguments disputing the winnings, but issued no ruling, telling the packed
courtroom she would consider the matter further.
Bonner also told those
present that no one involved in the case should contact anyone on the other
side, except through their lawyer. And, that anyone not involved in the case
should stay out of it.
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
$46 Million Lottery
Winner Finally Surfaces, Winning Ticket in the
By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer
NEWARK, N.J. (June 15, 2001) - A 40-year-old computer technician
collected a $46 million lottery jackpot Friday with a ticket that arrived in
the mail at lottery headquarters three days after nearly everyone assumed the
money had been forfeited.
Melvin B. Milligan of Passaic took 10 minutes to
find the nearly year-old ticket in a junk drawer last week after hearing news
reports about how time was running out to claim a big jackpot.
He got the
ticket validated at a convenience store computer two days before the one-year
deadline of Saturday, June 9. And then, to the astonishment of lottery
officials, he entrusted the ticket to the U.S. mail and sent it off to lottery
headquarters in Trenton.
It arrived on Tuesday.
``It wasn't even
certified or insured mail,'' lottery spokeswoman Annette Jenkins said. ``It's
By the time the ticket arrived, lottery officials had already
announced that the prize had gone unclaimed and would be forfeited.
Miligan's wife, Kim, smilingly predicted a grim outcome for her husband if the
ticket had not been validated in time. ``I guess we'd be out at the jailhouse
today,'' she said. ``He'd have been dead.''
The ticket was postmarked June
7, two days before the deadline. But lottery officials said that as long as
Milligan validated the ticket at the store by the deadline, he was entitled to
the prize - even if the ticket had gotten lost in the mail.
described himself as an occasional lottery player, said he would use his
winnings to take care of his family, look for a home and take a cruise
somewhere. He refused to say whether he had children.
Milligan said he will
take the $46 million in annual installments over 26 years, rather than a $23.7
million lump sum.
``I was in shock for a while and just drove around,'' a
beaming Milligan said at a news conference with his 34-year-old wife and acting
Gov. Donald DiFrancesco. ``There was an envelope attached to the claim form so
I just mailed it in. Somehow, I knew the lottery would get it, and I knew
Milligan's wife wasn't so sure. She said, ``Are you crazy?
You mailed it?''' he recalled. ``I said, `Yeah, I mailed it.'''
for the multistate Big Game lottery was sold at the Krauszer's convenience
store in Montvale on June 9, 2000 - the day of the drawing.
If the prize
had not been claimed, the money would have gone to
New Jersey and the six other states that
participate in the game: Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia
© The Associated Press. Used with permission.
$90M Big Game Jackpot
Dispute Escalates, Winning Syndicate Files
ATLANTA, Georgia (May 15, 2001) -- Four members
of the $90 million Big Game Jackpot winning syndicate presented the winning
ticket to the Georgia Lottery Corp. on
Monday. It passed all inspections, but the drivers, who represent a group of 23
airport cabbies who won the seven-state May 4 jackpot, won't see their winnings
until they go to court.
That's because a group of 14 cab drivers who also
work out of Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport say they are entitled to
a portion of the prize because they at one point played in the lottery pool
organized by winner Max Ossei-Wusu.
A Cobb County Superior Court judge
ordered the lottery not to pay out the money until a hearing, scheduled for May
"We have a winning ticket, and we'll pay when the court tells us to
pay," Georgia Lottery Corp. President Rebecca Paul said Monday.
Ossei-Wusu's lawyer, Ernest Tate, says he has filed a countersuit, seeking $10
million to compensate for damage to his client's reputation and disruption of
his family life.
He called the lawsuit against Ossei-Wusu "frivolous and
vexatious." At least five plaintiffs have dropped out already, according to
court papers filed late last week. Tate added that the winning cabbies want to
be compensated for the interest they have lost on their $49.4 million prize
because of the lawsuit. While the jackpot was $90 million, the winners chose
the cash option, which pays out less.
In the past seven days their
winnings would have generated $50,000 at 5 percent interest.
cabbies formed a limited liability corporation in order to claim the prize.
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Dispute Erupts Over $90
million Big Game Jackpot
ATLANTA, Georgia (May 9, 2001) --
According to the 'Atlanta Journal-Constitution' a group of 23 taxi drivers
working out of Hartsfield International Airport claim to hold the winning
ticket in Friday's $90 million Big Game lottery. But the newspaper said 14
other cabbies are crying foul, saying they have been wrongly excluded from the
Atlanta attorney Howard Stopeck said today that he has
obtained a restraining order preventing the Georgia Lottery Corp. from paying
out the prize until the dispute is settled.
Stopeck said Max Ossei-Wasu was
the "leader" of the group of taxi drivers --- all from Ghana --- and had been
collecting $5 from each of the 37 drivers for several drawings.
winnings were to be used to purchase additional tickets in future drawings for
But last week, Ossei-Wasu only collected money from 23 drivers,
refusing to take money from the other 14, Stopeck contends.
was it would continue until there was a big winner," Stopeck said today.
"(Ossei-Wasu) breached his fiduciary duty to the group itself, so everyone in
the group is entitled to a share."
Stopeck said he filed suit in Cobb
County Superior Court on Monday, and obtained a temporary restraining order on
Georgia Lottery officials
would not comment on the case, but planned a news conference to "discuss the
payment of the Big Game jackpot."
Lottery spokeswoman Parquita Nassau said
the purchaser of the winning ticket chose the cash option, meaning that instead
of a $90 million payout over 26 years, the jackpot would be a one-time payout
of $48.5 million.
Split 37 ways, that comes to $1.3 million per person; in
a 23-way split, each winner would get $2.1 million.
Stopeck said that his
clients are divided on how much each should receive.
None of his clients
put $5 into Friday night's drawing, but they have no way of knowing which
tickets were purchased with the $5 collected from the 23 other drivers and
which were bought with proceeds from the earlier drawings.
"They didn't pay
the $5 and we recognize that," Stopeck said. "But they wanted to and they were
denied being able to by the person who owed them this fiduciary duty."
Stopeck said there is a lot of "angst" among his clients, some of whom
"feel guilty about making a claim without having paid the $5."
He said the
two sides have been in discussions, and he is hoping they can resolve the issue
out of court, or through mediation.
"People from Ghana are righteous,
forthright people," Stopeck said.
"They try their best to resolve these
things in a reasonable manner, without having to involve the courts."
Stopeck said he has sympathy for Ossei-Wasu. "I don't have any animosity
toward him," he said.
"Some people on the other side believe that the
plaintiffs, my clients, are not entitled to 10 cents --- nothing. There are
some people who think they are entitled to an equal share. And some people who
think somewhere in the middle."
SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia Lottery Sells
$90 Million Winning Big Game Ticket
GEORGIA (May 6, 2001)
-- One ticket sold in Georgia matched all
the winning numbers selected in the latest Big
Game drawing. Lottery officials said the winning ticket from Friday night's
drawing --- worth $90 million --- was sold in Griffin.
In addition to the
grand prize winner, eight tickets were sold that matched all five numbers but
not the Big Money Ball. Those tickets are worth $150,000 apiece.
tickets matched four of the five numbers plus the Big Money Ball. Those tickets
are worth $5,000 each.
The winning numbers from Friday night's drawing
were: 11, 24, 27, 35 and 47. The Big Money Ball number was 22.
Associated Press. Used with permission.
Michigan Couple Claims
By DEE-ANN DURBIN, Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (February 1, 2001) -- On Thursday morning,
Tony and Linda Calliea' s checking account was overdrawn. By afternoon, the
Callieas were multimillionaires.
The couple stepped forward Thursday to
claim the $107 million jackpot in Tuesday' s multi-state Big Game drawing.
Callieas' $5 ticket, bought at Mama' s Pizzeria and Party Store in Chesterfield
Township, matched all six numbers.
" I' m stunned. I' ve been shaking
since yesterday, " Tony Calliea said at Michigan lottery headquarters. " I
haven' t eaten. I haven' t slept."
The Callieas play the Big Game
regularly but had never won anything except " the plush football from the
Doritos bag, " Linda Calliea joked.
She gripped her husband' s hand
Thursday as she signed lottery documents. " Don' t let go of me, " she said.
The Callieas chose the lump-sum option, which left them with winnings of
$57.7 million before taxes.
Tony Calliea, 39, is a computer technician.
Linda Calliea described herself as a " domestic engineer." The Callieas have
been married 16 years and have two children, ages 16 and 12.
took a vacation day to go to the lottery headquarters and hasn' t quit his job.
" I haven' t really thought about it. It happened so fast, " he said.
Their eyes welling with tears, the couple said they have no idea how they will
spend the money. Their friends shouted " Maui!" and told Tony Calliea that he
ought to buy a new truck. Linda had another idea.
" My nieces and nephews
and friends' children are going to go to college, " she said.
tickets are sold in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
Jersey and Virginia.
The odds of getting all six winning numbers are 1 in
Copyright 2001 Associated Press. Used with permission.
2nd Big Game Winner
By Martha Irvine
CHICAGO (May 19, 2000) - A suburban family who owns a small
brewery has more than enough money to buy drinks all around after stepping
forward Friday to claim the other half of last week's record-breaking $363
million lottery jackpot. Joe Kainz, his wife, Sue, and their three sons will
take home a lump sum of about $62 million after taxes.
The Tower Lakes
couple and their sons, Michael, 34; Patrick, 29; and John, 26 - founded the
Wild Onion Brewing Co. in the Chicago suburb of Lake Barrington. They sell
their beer at area bars and liquor stores.
The first item on their wish
list? ``Honest to God, I want a new roof,'' said Mrs. Kainz, 62.
64-year-old husband said they also plan to pay off debt, take a trip to
Ireland, give money to charity and ``have a lot of fun.'' Michael Kainz said he
would like to build a state-of-the-art brewery and buy a water ski boat.
The couple said they will keep working at the brewery, which they started four
years ago and is on the verge of turning a profit.
``We put this whole
thing together with blood, sweat and tears. And there's no way we're going to
give that up,'' Mrs. Kainz said. She also said her husband would keep open his
medical supply business.
The $363 million prize in the seven-state Big Game
drawing May 9 was the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. But the biggest
individual payout is still the $197 million awarded last year to a
The Kainz family could have received the full $181.5
million in 26 annual installments but instead elected for a smaller payment up
The other half of the jackpot was won by Larry Ross, a swimming pool
installer from Shelby Township, Mich., who came forward last week.
Kainzes said they waited longer to step forward because they needed to talk to
lawyers and a financial planner.
Last week, Ross said he did the ``lottery
dance'' when he found out he won. Joe Kainz said it was different for him. ``I
didn't dance because I don't do that very well. I just ... kind of hobbled
around,'' he said.
Kainz, who plays the lottery regularly and had won no
more than $3 before this, bought the winning ticket - with the six matching
numbers selected by computer - at the Sweeney Oil gas station and convenience
store in Lake Zurich. Owner John Sweeney gets a $1.8 million commission.
Kainz called his wife after realizing the numbers matched.
``She said, `You
never win anything. That's probably worth a hundred dollars.' And you know,
after 40 years of marriage, I believed her,'' he said, laughing.
coming forward, the Kainzes entertained themselves by driving down to the
convenience store to watch the frenzied reporters who were searching for them.
They even spoke - anonymously - with one reporter.
They finally shared the
news with their closest friends Tuesday. Mrs. Kainz said she also spent a lot
of time talking to her black Labrador.
``I would go by him four or five
times a day and say, `Hi, rich dog,''' she said.
The Big Game is played in
Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia.
The odds of matching all six numbers were one in more than 76 million.
Asked if he plans to buy a major brewery such as Budweiser, Joe Kainz laughed
and said: ``I've always had a dream. You know, they've got the Clydesdale
horses. I want to get a set of dwarf horses and put them on a Red Flyer wagon
and haul a keg of beer around.''
On the Net: Big Game:
© The Associated Press. Used with permission.
Big Game Lottery Winner
Comes Forward By Kathy Barks Hoffman
LANSING, Mich. (May 12, 2000) - A swimming pool
installer stepped forward today to claim half of the record $363 million
lottery jackpot, saying he put down a $100 bill on the day of the drawing for
98 tickets and a hot dog.
Larry Ross recalled telling his wife he had a
winning ticket. Then, he said, ``I invented a new dance - I started doing the
Ross, with his wife and children standing behind him at a
news conference, said he's not a regular lottery player, but his wife had
encouraged him to buy some tickets for the Big Game.
When he stopped
Tuesday to buy a hot dog at Mr. K's Party Shoppe, in a strip mall near the
quiet suburb of Utica, 20 miles north of Detroit, all he had was $100 bill.
``I asked the guy to give me change in lotto tickets,'' he said.
said, ``I haven't slept in three days. It's a great diet program, win the lotto
and lose weight. I haven't eaten in three days.''
Ross, 47, and his wife
Nancy, 45, have been married 25 years. They have three children: Ian, 21; Eric,
25; and Shannon, 12.
The Rosses will take their share of the jackpot in a
one-time lump-sum payment of about $90 million before taxes. The family plans
to give some of the money to charity.
``We're not going to do anything
rash. We're going to invest wisely,'' Ross said.
State lottery officials
said they were contacted Wednesday by a ``remarkably quite calm'' man they
believed held one of the winning tickets.
The other ticket was sold at a
gas station in Lake Zurich, Ill., 30 miles northwest of Chicago. That winner
has not yet contacted Illinois lottery officials, a spokeswoman said today.
Ross said the family plans to move to a more secure neighborhood somewhere in
``You have the ecstasy of winning and then you start realizing
the agony of what might happen,'' he said. ``You've got security problems now.
You think about your family, who's at risk. We're not in a secure neighborhood.
We don't have security like rich people have.''
He said he certainly didn't
expect to win, though has some plans on how to spend a little of the money.
``We dream to retire. A new car, a big home. I guess I'd like to start a new
job playing golf. And maybe a boat is in our future. We haven't had a summer
vacation in 13 years,'' Ross said.
And his wife will get that purple Jaguar
she's always wanted, he said.
The drawing Tuesday capped days of frenzy
that sent lottery veterans and first-timers alike scurrying for $1 chances at
the big dream.
To win, a ticket had to match five numbers plus the Big
Money Ball number. There were 72 tickets that matched all five numbers except
the Big Money Ball. Each is worth $150,000 before taxes.
The jackpot run
resulted in some very impressive sales totals on its way up to the
million record level. March 3 was the last time on which The Big Game jackpot
was won, from the March 7 drawing through the May 9 drawing, Big Game ticket
sales in all participating states totaled more than $565 million.
states that participate in the Big Game are Georgia, Illinois, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia.
The previous record for a
U.S. lottery was a $295.7 million Powerball
jackpot split two years ago by 13 machinists in Westerville, Ohio.
world lottery record is $1.2 billion, set in December by Spain's El Gordo, or
the Fat One. But that game awards thousands of prizes.
Press. Used with permission.
Winner of the $116
million Big Game Drawing Comes Forward
ATLANTA (August 4,
1999) -- There was one big winner in last night's multi-state Big Game lottery,
but they're not from New Jersey or New York. The winning ticket was bought in
The winner, Randy Kerfoot from East Ridge Tennessee, will be able
to bank about $39 million. He had chosen the cash option on his Quik Pick
ticket, so his lump-sum winnings came to about $59 million, or $38.9 million
Georgia Lottery Corp. officials said it was the largest
payout to a single winner since the state lottery began in 1993.
Game is played in seven states: Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland,
Michigan, Virginia and New Jersey.
Kerfoot bought his ticket at the Mr.
Zip convenience store in Rossville, Ga., just across the state line from
Chattanooga. The retailer earns a $25,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
SOURCE: Associated Press
Welcomes New Jersey to The Big Game!
LANSING, Mich., May
25, 1999 -- On the heels of the record-setting $197 million jackpot last month,
The Big Game adds another page to its history books with the addition of New
Jersey as a Big Game state. The Garden State begins ticket sales tomorrow, just
in time for Friday's (May 28) drawing!
The addition of New Jersey brings
to seven the number of participating Big Game states. Current states include:
Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia.
is great news for Big Game fans here in Michigan and throughout the country,''
said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Don Gilmer. ``It means more access for those
who'd like to try their luck with The Big Game, and will likely mean higher
jackpots that roll more quickly because the population base is that much
larger. ``We extend a warm welcome to New Jersey Lottery staff and players and
look forward to lots of winning!''
Big Game Lottery's New
New Jersey, Trenton (May
27, 1999) Local newspapers and wire services are reporting
conflicting stories surrounding the introduction of the "Big Game".
States News Service report New Jersey Lottery officials saying that, sales were
brisk on the state's first day in the Big Game with some lottery outlets
reporting five times the usual number of tickets being sold.
Bergen Record reports that the debut of the Big Game went off without much
fanfare on Wednesday, with many lottery players and merchants opting to instead
play and plug the local Pick Six game. The local game had a jackpot of $18
million, more than triple the potential purse of the interstate Big Game.
The newspaper said the announcement that the $60 million Jackpot had already
been won by a ticket sold in Maryland had hurt first day sales in New
With an early-week winner, Friday's jackpot, the first to include
New Jersey, recycled to a paltry $5 million.
If no one wins the Big Game
drawing on Friday, the purse will roll over and continue to build for a drawing
The odds of winning the top prize for the Big Game are 1-in-76
million, compared to odds of 9 million to one for Pick Six. Players choose five
numbers from a pool of 50 and one number, the Big Money Ball from a pool of 36.
To win the top prize, all six numbers on the $1 ticket must be matched.
Players also can win by matching one, two, three, four, or five numbers. The
odds of winning drop considerably, but so do the purses, which start at $1 for
matching just the Big Money Ball.
Payouts for the Big Game start at $5
million and can escalate to more than $250 million. Players can choose a cash
option or have the money paid in 26 annual installments.
The average purse
is $35 million, with profits going to fund school building projects. The Garden
State joins Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia in
sponsoring the lottery. The largest jackpot ever won by one person is $197
million, and it went to a woman in Massachusetts last month who played the Big
SOURCE: State News Service and The Bergen