Retirement is a little closer for an Eastpointe man who won $1 million on the Michigan Lottery’s $1,000,000 Play it Again game show Wednesday night.
Gary Mayberger won the big prize by scoring 26 on two rolls of five dice. He beat out Kelly Day, of Armada and John Freeman, of Grand Rapids in the game, which was shown by TV stations across Michigan. Although Mayberger was the big winner, Day and Freeman each took home $5,000.
“I just won $1 million! This is all so unbelievable,” Mayberger said after winning. “On my way here, my best friend, Ray, told me not to think of about ‘if I win’ because I was ‘going to win’ and it turns out he was right!”
The 56-year-old Lottery player has been dreaming of hitting it big for a long time. He knew he had a 1 in 3 shot at becoming a millionaire when he got the call that he had been selected to appear on the $1,000,000 Play it Again game show.
“When the person on the other end of the line told me I had been selected to play for $1 million, I was stunned. I got up, paced around, and went and found my neighbors to tell them the news,” Mayberger said.
Once he calmed down, he began thinking about all of the “what-ifs” that come with the possibility of winning $1 million and made plans for the money, just in case he was the big winner.
“The first thing I want to do is give some money to my parents for all that they have done for me,” said Mayberger. “I’d also like to buy a new house, nothing too fancy, just something more comfortable.”
In addition to helping his parents and purchasing a new home, the U.S. Army veteran also plans to donate a portion of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project and set aside the remainder for his retirement.
“I told my boss that if I won, I would come back to work, but that I’d need a two-week absence,” said Mayberger. “I’m going to take a little break, prepare for retirement in a few years, and this money will help me live comfortably.”
Players redeemed Players Club points for entries into the drawing. Each entry for the $1,000,000 Play it Again drawing required 10 Players Club points and more than 9.8 million entries were submitted. There was no limit on the number of entries that each player could submit.
The 2015 Play it Again drawing is now open to Players Club members. There is no limit on the number of entries that each Players Club member may have in the drawing. The entry deadline for the 2015 drawing is Aug. 2, 2015.
The Players Club is a free rewards program that allows Lottery players to accumulate points by entering codes on non-winning instant and draw game tickets. Points may be redeemed for entries into drawings for prizes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences or for merchandise, including Lottery free-play coupons.
Players may join the Players Club by visiting: www.michiganlottery.com/join_now.
For a behind the scenes look at the $1,000,000 Play it Again game show, visit: http://bit.ly/1BQ2VNJ.