|Rebecca (center) presents the incredible prize to Tina and Jonathan!
Amid a festive setting of balloons and cheering onlookers, the Tennessee Lottery today welcomed the winners of its largest prize ever, who arrived to claim the $61 million Mega Millions jackpot won from the drawing held Friday, Jan. 3.
The winners of the hefty prize, Bettina “Tina” Still and her son Jonathan, both of Nashville, preferred not to speak publicly but did allow photographs to be taken at the Lottery’s Nashville headquarters with Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove.
“We couldn’t be happier for Tina and her family,” said Mrs. Hargrove. “Winning the big jackpot is a dream come true and Lottery players across Tennessee will all take pleasure in this great news. The chance at such good fortune is what makes the Lottery fun—and what drives our funding of education programs for students and their families.”
Mrs. Still, a 69-year-old retiree who lives in Bellevue and worked for the State of Tennessee, said she “nearly fainted” when she realized she had won. She and Jonathan, who currently works for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, have played lottery games together for years and will split the winnings. Tina Still also issued the following statement:
“I am truly grateful for this blessing. I have played the Lottery since it first arrived in Tennessee and have always believed that I could win. As I keep telling my friends: You can’t win if you don’t play. Knowing you can win is one of the biggest thrills in the world. It’s part of the fun of playing.
But, honestly, when I realized I’d actually won, I was astonished and nearly fainted … just absolutely astonished. This will truly mean a lot to us.”
Mrs. Still told Lottery officials she and her son waited nearly a week to claim the jackpot in order to consider their options and consult with a financial advisor. They chose the lump-sum cash payment, as opposed to the annuitized amount.
$61 Million Tennessee Mega Millions Jackpot Quick Facts:
• Winning ticket matched all six Mega Millions numbers drawn on Friday, Jan. 3.
• Ticket sold at Bellevue Shell, 7395 Old Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37221. Retailer received $25,000.
• This is the largest prize in Tennessee Lottery history and the first Mega Millions jackpot winner for Tennessee. The second-largest winner in Tennessee was a family from South Pittsburg who won a Powerball jackpot of $25.5 million in March 2005. This marks the 131st winning Lottery ticket sold in Tennessee worth a million dollars or more.
• Tennessee launched Mega Millions on Jan. 31, 2010, after an agreement between Powerball and Mega Millions groups to allow states the option of offering both large jackpot, multi-jurisdictional, drawing-style games.
• The game was recently modified to create larger starting jackpots, a million-dollar second prize, better overall odds of winning a prize, and a new matrix of 1-75 for the first five numbers and 1-15 for the Mega Ball number.
• Ticket price is $1.
• 45 lottery jurisdictions sell Mega Millions tickets (43 states plus Washington DC and US Virgin Islands).
• The Tennessee Education Lottery has raised over $2.8 BILLION for education since it began selling tickets on January 20, 2004 and funded more than 800,000 scholarships and grants.
• The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation operates entirely from the revenue it generates through the sale of its products. Net proceeds from sales of Lottery tickets, currently averaging over $6.3 million per week, fund specific education programs, including college scholarships and after-school programs. In addition to the educational beneficiaries, players have won over $6.5 billion in prizes and Lottery retailer partners have earned over $706 million in retailer commissions.
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