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$50 Million New Smyrna Beach LOTTO Winners Buy Ticket Day Before Drawing

17 May 2000

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--(Press Release)--May 17, 2000-- "I was getting close to retirement and going to have to live frugally, but this will make it a lot easier!" -- GEORGE MADISON Florida LOTTO Jackpot Winner

A group of New Smyrna Beach city employees, who decided to pool their money and buy 18 FLORIDA LOTTO tickets the day before the drawing, arrived at Florida Lottery Headquarters today to claim the sole winning ticket for the May 13 estimated $50 million LOTTO jackpot.

Members of the group, known as the "Smyrna 6," opted to take their winnings in a single-payment Cash Option of $22.9 million, rather than take the jackpot in 30 annual installments of approximately $1,666,666.(a)

The $50 million jackpot is the fourth largest prize won from a single ticket. The highest single winning ticket was worth $81.6 million from the March 29 jackpot, won by a group of nursing home workers from New Port Richey.

Members of the group claiming the jackpot today are:

George Madison, 62

Holly Pogany, 34

Athena Hazlaris, 70

Shirley Pittman, 57

Janet Lipscomb, 54

Mary Yando, 47

"I was getting ready to retire and going to have to live frugally, but this will make it a lot easier," said George Madison, who works in the finance department at New Smyrna Beach City Hall. "I never thought something like this would happen to me!"

The group used the Lottery's "Quick Pick" system to pick the winning numbers. The winning numbers for the May 13 drawing are: 07 - 15 - 18 - 26 - 47 - 48. The winners bought their lucky ticket at Sun Pharmacy, located at 223 Canal St. in New Smyrna Beach.

"I've been wanting to travel for a long time, and I'm going to do it now," said Athena Hazlaris.

Members of the group said for the time being, they are going to return to work at City Hall to finish up major projects, or wait until replacements can be hired.

"The hardest part of leaving your job is leaving your friends and not having that day-to-day contact with people," said Mary Yando, who plans to quit her job eventually and go back to school.

"I'm going to stay at work until I can train my replacement, then I'm also going to quit," said Holly Pogany. "I think it's sinking in now that yes, this is 'real.' I can now stay at home and spend time with my daughter and husband."

George said they only play LOTTO as a group when the jackpot gets up to "a fairly good amount." Mary brought the group's 18 tickets late Friday afternoon before the drawing. She stored it in a locked desk at City Hall over the weekend. Early Sunday morning after they found out they won, they removed the ticket and stored it in a safe deposit box at a local bank.

The group is the 621st FLORIDA LOTTO ticketholder to win a jackpot of $1 million or more since LOTTO began in 1988. Twenty-seven of those players who have won a LOTTO jackpot either reside in Volusia County or bought their ticket at a retailer in Volusia.

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