An Illinois Lottery player has won a life-changing amount of money – a whopping $12.5 million – after winning the Lotto grand prize over the weekend.
This lucky player is now the sixth Illinois Lotto player to win a prize of a million dollars or more since January 2021 – and this is the largest Lotto jackpot win since June 2020.
The winning ticket was purchased at Total Liquors, located at 823 Summit St. in Elgin, and matched all six Lotto numbers in Saturday evening’s drawing, 13-15-28-29-31-44, to win the jackpot.
The Elgin store owners, Bharat and Chetan Patel, were unaware that their store had sold the $12.5 million jackpot ticket until they received a phone call from another business owner just before midnight on Saturday.
“When I took the call, I was in total shock and disbelief,” said Bharat Patel. “I didn’t believe it, so I checked the Illinois Lottery’s website and saw our store’s name listed as the retailer that sold the winning Lotto ticket. At that moment, my disbelief turned into sheer joy!”
Patel said the past 24 hours have been non-stop celebration.
“Our phone is ringing off the hook, and customers have been stopping by to congratulate us – it’s been overwhelming but also very exciting,” exclaimed Patel.
Total Liquors is no stranger to selling winning Lottery tickets.
“We’ve owned this store for five years and over the years, we’ve sold a lot of winning Lottery tickets. However, this is the biggest one we’ve been a part of – thanks to our loyal customers,” added Patel.
When asked if he knew who might have purchased the winning ticket, Patel said, “I’m not sure but I think it’s a regular customer that frequently plays the Lotto game at our store. It’s the only game that he plays.”
Retailers who sell winning tickets also have another reason to celebrate these winning moments, as these wins bring their business a cash selling bonus of one percent of the prize amount. For the liquor store, that means a bonus of $125,000.
Patel says the bonus couldn’t have come at a better time, and he plans to use a significant portion of the money to reinvest in his business.
Lotto is an Illinois-only game that is played three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and the current jackpot is at $2 million for tonight’s drawing, Monday, April 25.
The Illinois Lottery encourages all lucky winners to write their name on the back of their ticket and keep it in a safe place until they’re ready to claim their prize. They have one year from the date of the winning draw to do so. Winners should visit IllinoisLottery.com/winning to learn how to claim their prizes.
For more information or to buy tickets online, please visit illinoislottery.com or download the Illinois Lottery app on your smartphone.