LANSING, Mich., May 12, 2000 – Small-business owners Larry and Nancy Ross of Shelby Township, Mich., became part of U.S. gaming history today as they claimed their share of the largest lottery jackpot in North America to date: the $363 million grand prize in the May 9, 2000 Big Game drawing!
"We still can’t believe we won!" said Mr. Ross of his family’s unbelievable good fortune. "The whole thing is overwhelming and we are still adjusting to the shock."
Then the next morning we saw the clerk who had sold us the ticket on TV. We re-checked the ticket and found we had the winner!"
Mr. Ross said he and Nancy plan to share the wealth with several family members and will take some time to figure out what to do with the rest. He joked that he may take up a new career: golf.
The Rosses decided to take their $181.5 million share of the jackpot winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment for approximately $90 million (the estimated present cash value of the jackpot share before taxes). The actual cash value of the prize will be determined after the sale of the Treasury bonds that fund the prize.
"This really couldn’t have happened to a nicer family!" said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Don Gilmer. "It’s been such a pleasure to meet the Rosses and share in their excitement. This was the longest jackpot run in Big Game history and everyone at the Michigan Lottery is glad it had a happy ending for one of our players."
Born and raised in the metro-Detroit area, Larry, 47, and Nancy, 46, own and operate Bush Pools, a pool installation and maintenance business that has been in the family for 13 years. They have three children and one grandchild, and will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary next month with a little extra cash.
The winning Big Game "easy pick" ticket was purchased at Mr. K’s Party Shoppe, 2238 Auburn Road, in Utica. The winning numbers in the May 9 Big Game drawing were: 1, 2, 12, 33, 37 and the Big Money Ball number was 4.
The $363 million windfall unseated a July 1998 Powerball jackpot of $295.7 million as the largest lottery jackpot in North American lottery history! Michigan’s wasn’t the only lucky ticket in the Big Game drawing; the Illinois Lottery sold the other ticket but officials said the winner has not yet stepped forward.
The jackpot run resulted in some very impressive sales totals on its way up to the $363 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. Michigan’s sales share amounted to $83.29 million. Of that amount, roughly $29 million is earmarked for the state School Aid Fund, the Michigan Lottery’s sole beneficiary of net revenue.
The Big Game is a multistate lottery game available in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. The game debuted at Michigan Lottery ticket counters on August 31, 1996 and the first drawing was conducted September 6, 1996. Tickets cost $1 and, in addition to the jackpot, there are eight other ways to win cash prizes ranging from $1 to $150,000.
Big Game tickets are available at more than 6,400 Michigan Lottery retailer locations statewide. Drawings are conducted Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. (Eastern); the next drawing is tonight (May 12) with a jackpot of $5 million.