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$115 Million Reasons to Celebrate

13 June 2003

ILLINOIS – (Press Release) -- Illinois players have even more reasons to celebrate the beginning of summer this year with the Mega Millions jackpot rising up to $115 million.

The current jackpot is approximately the 16th largest jackpot in U.S. history. It began at $10 million on April 29 and hasn't been more than $105 million since August of 2002. The largest North American jackpot ever was the Big Game's $363 million in May 2000. It was shared by a Lake County, IL family and a Michigan family.

Not only do players have a chance to win big but retailers do too. Illinois retailers that sell winning tickets receive a one percent bonus. If an Illinois retailer sells the winning $115 million ticket from Friday's drawing, they will receive a $1.15 million bonus. Illinois retailers have received as much as $1.8 million for selling a single ticket!

Mega Millions debuted on May 15, 2002, replacing the Big Game. Currently, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Georgia are members of the Mega Millions group. Tickets cost $1. Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 p.m. and broadcast on WGN-TV. Tickets can be purchased in Illinois until 9:45 p.m. Prizes range from $2 to the jackpot.

Since the Big Game/Mega Millions inception in 1996, Illinois has awarded more prize money and had twice as many grand-prize winners (26) than the next closest state (Georgia with 13). The Big Game/Mega Millions has awarded nearly $1 billion in prizes to Illinois Lottery players, and contributed nearly 3/4s of a billion dollars to the State's Common School Fund.

Players who buy $5 worth of Mega Millions tickets and do not win can use the tickets to enter the Lottery's Fun for Summer 2nd Chance Promotion, which runs through early September. Under the promotion, one player will win $100,000 and 500 players will win a pair of tickets to some of the hottest summer concerts in Illinois.

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery is a state agency with annual sales of nearly $1.6 billion. All Lottery profits are deposited into the state's Common School Fund to assist K-12 public education in Illinois.

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