Before a packed press conference, Bettina “Tina” Still and her son Jonathan, both from Nashville Tennessee, came forward to claim the $61million Mega Millions Jackpot prize. The draw – held on Jan 3rd 2014 ensured a great start to the New Year for the duo as it was reportedly the largest prize ever won in Tennessee lottery history.
The lucky Mega Millions lotto winners were a little shy and left the talking to the officials, although they did permit photos to be taken during the ceremony held at the Lottery’s Nashville headquarters with Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove in attendance. Mrs Hargrove commented “We couldn’t be happier for Tina and her family,” “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, 69, worked as an executive secretary for the Tennessee legislature for 36 years before retiring in 2012, while Jonathan Still works in operations for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Together they have played the lottery for several years and always split the winnings. Mrs Still issued the following statement after the Tennessee Mega Millions lottery jackpot win: “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.” Mrs Still went on to say she “nearly fainted” upon discovering she had the Mega Millions winning numbers.
The Still’s waited nearly a week before claiming the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in order to consider their options and to take advice from a financial advisor. Like many other Mega Millions lotto winners before them, they opted for the lump-sum cash payment, as opposed to the annual payments. After state taxes it works out at over $24 million. The ticket containing the winning Mega Millions numbers was bought from the Bellevue Shell, 7395 Old Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37221. Pike, and as a reward for selling it, the store owner will receive a $25,000 bonus payment.
The prize fund just keeps giving. The Tennessee lottery has already been a winner for the states college students. Over the past 4 years, around 800,000 students have been awarded more than $2.8 billion in lottery scholarships.This is the largest prize in Tennessee Lottery history and the first Mega Millions lottery jackpot winner from the state. The second-largest lottery winner from the state was a family from South Pittsburgh who won a Powerball jackpot worth $25.5 million in March 2005. This win marks the 131st winning Lottery ticket sold in Tennessee worth a million dollars or more.
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation functions wholly from the revenue it generates through the sale of its products. Proceeds from sales of Lottery tickets, currently averaging over $6.3 million per week (net), help pay key education programmes, including college scholarships and after-school programmes. In addition to the educational winners, those who play have won over $6.5 billion in prizes with lottery retailer partners earning over $706 million in retailer commissions and bonuses.