LANSING, June 17, 1999 – Thanks to a Big Game ticket that was purchased at the last minute, the two members of the G & Z Lottery Club from West Bloomfield are enjoying some extra pocket change! The lucky men matched the first five numbers in the May 18 Big Game drawing to win the game’s $150,000 prize.
That day’s winning numbers were: 5, 11, 14, 27, 41 and the Big Money Ball number was 18.
The two club members – John Ginopolis, 57, and Michael Zangkas, 48, both of West Bloomfield – have been friends for many years, but have only been playing Michigan Lottery games as a club for about a year.
"I saw the winning numbers in the newspaper," Zangkas, the club’s representative, said. "It was funny because I had purchased 10 extra tickets right before the drawing and the winning ticket was one of those! I believe it was just meant to be."
Zangkas was the first to realize that the club had won $150,000. The club also had a $1 winning ticket for the same drawing, so Zangkas decided to play a little joke on Ginopolis.
"I called John after I found out we had won and told him that we had a winning Big Game ticket," Zangkas said. "When he asked me ‘how much,’ I told him just $1. He told me to keep his 50 cents. I countered with ‘what do you want me to do with the extra $75,000?’ I then told him that we had also won $150,000! He could hardly believe it. We were both completely surprised!"
The winning Big Game ticket was purchased at Warren Prescription, 32910 Middlebelt Road, in Farmington. Prior to turning the ticket in at Lottery headquarters in Lansing, the duo placed it in a safe at the restaurant Ginopolis owns.
The West Bloomfield men, who are both avid golfers, said they plan to use their winnings to buy a new car, pay bills and share the money with their families.
The lucky pair offered the following words of wisdom for other Lottery hopefuls: "If you don’t play you don’t win!"
The Big Game is a multistate lottery game in Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. The next drawing will be conducted Friday, June 18 and the expected jackpot is $10 million.
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