Wedding Bells and $500,000!

Newlywed Wins Top Prize
in Illinois Lottery’s 4th of July Millionaire Raffle

For Immediate Release Contact: Micaela Small (630) 486-0658


Westchester, IL—June 21, 2013 — “What a wedding present!” Louis Gardner said after winning $500,000 in the Illinois Lottery’s 4th of July Millionaire Raffle Early Bird drawing on June 13. Just three days before his June 17 wedding, Gardner went to a store to check his Raffle ticket - number 0022090 - and discovered he was half a million dollars richer. Today, Illinois Lottery officials presented the newlywed a ceremonial check.

“I bought a 4th of July Millionaire Raffle ticket because my wife told me about it and I thought I should give it a try,” said Gardner. “And we won on her birthday - June 13!” The lucky Hillside resident and his new bride, Joann, have been together for 15 years. They have four children and eight grandchildren. They plan to use the winnings to pay bills, invest and donate to their church.

Gardner said his advice for other Lottery players is to have faith. “I cried when I found out that we won. I’ve never won anything before this. I feel so blessed.”

The winning 4th of July Millionaire Raffle ticket was purchased at BP Mannheim, 825 Mannheim Road, in Westchester. The store received a $5,000 bonus, 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket. Gardner’s winning ticket is still in the running to win more prizes. His Raffle ticket was eligible for the June 20 early bird drawing, and is still eligible for the early bird drawing June 27 and the final drawing on July 4th.

This year’s 4th of July Millionaire Raffle is the first game of its kind offered by the Illinois Lottery, costing just $10 to play and offering chances in multiple drawings - June 6, 13, 20 and 27, and the Grand Prize drawing on July 4th - on a single ticket. 4th of July Millionaire Raffle tickets are available at over 8,100 Illinois Lottery retailers until July 4th or when tickets sell out.

Winning raffle numbers will be available on the Illinois Lottery’s website at after each drawing. Raffle players can stay on top of weekly winning numbers and get reminders and results notifications delivered to their cellular phone by texting “Raffles” to 4-6-7-8-6 (Mobile carrier fee may apply). The Lottery’s website offers additional information on drawings, including a how to play video and updates on raffle sales.

About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed $17.5 billion to the state Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as the Capital Projects Fund. Players must be at least 18 years old. Play responsibly.