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Saturday, February 5, 2005
Media Contact:  Kym Gerlock
(615) 324-6556 Office
(615) 604-2827 Mobile

GATLINBURG - Minnie Williams has lots of reasons to smile…one million reasons, to be exact.

An exhilarated Williams, 54, of Memphis, won $1 million this evening at the culmination of the Tennessee Lottery's second "Millionaire Live!" drawing event. The other two finalists who participated didn't leave empty-handed: Bobby Myers, Jr., 69, of Dyersburg, won $25,000, while Diane Taylor, 46, from Memphis, won $10,000 after the initial contestant elimination. The half-hour event was televised throughout the state from Gatlinburg.

"It feels great!" Williams told the crowd who gathered to watch the live broadcast. "I'm going to take my grandkids to Disneyland ... and take a trip to Jamaica," she said. Williams also plans to purchase a home and give part of her winnings to her church.

Tonight's "Millionaire Live!" was the second of three grand prize events that will award $1 million to a single winner. Players can still play the Lottery’s Tennessee Millionaire and Volunteer Millionaire instant ticket games.

"What a great year it's been for players and students," said Rebecca Paul, CEO and president of the Tennessee Lottery. "Minnie is the newest member of what will be a very special group of Tennessee Lottery millionaires."

The three finalists were drawn from more than 250,000 entries mailed in from players who earned an entry through one of the two instant Millionaire ticket games, Tennessee Millionaire and Volunteer Millionaire. By playing one of these $1 games, players have a chance to win a variety of prizes, one of which is an entry ticket into a preliminary drawing with the chance of winning $1 million in a grand prize drawing event.

The Tennessee Lottery began selling its first instant tickets on January 20, 2004. Proceeds as of December 31, 2004 have resulted in transfers to the Lottery for Education Account of $231.2 million, in addition to more than $2 million for after-school programs. All Lottery profits will go to pay for specific education programs in Tennessee, which initially include HOPE Scholarships.

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