Golconda Man Wins One of First of 25 $1mil Cash Spectacular Scratch Prizes

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Lang 217-524-5158

GOLCONDA, IL—Oct 9, 2011—James Millis is a man who knows what he needs. Almost immediately after discovering he won $1 million playing the Lottery’s new Cash Spectacular scratch game, Millis started lining up contractors to begin a series of much-needed improvements to his 145-year-old home, the oldest home in this 

Southern Illinois town of 600. Millis $1 million prize is one of the first of 25 such prizes available in the Lottery’s Cash Spectacular scratch game, which has the highest payout of any $10 game in Lottery history. 

A new roof, furnace and central air conditioning unit are all in the works, thanks to the Lottery windfall, as is a new-used car that Willis, 62, already took delivery of from a local dealer. The new car, a 2005 Ford 500, replaces an “old junker” 1998 Dodge sedan that barely ran. 

Millis and his wife of 45 years, Paula, are excited about the various improvements to the home they’ve occupied since 1983--especially the central air conditioning. “We had only one AC window unit in the bedroom, so it would get pretty warm in the summer, especially on the second floor,” said Willis, a regular Lottery player. 

The couple has two sons, Dennis, 41, and Daniel, 43, and five grandchildren, all of whom “will have a good Christmas” thanks to the Lottery windfall, said Mr. Millis, who retired about five years ago after working several decades as a truck driver. 

“We launched the Cash Spectacular scratch game earlier this summer at the DuQuoin State Fair,” said Acting Lottery Supt. Victor Golden. “It’s exciting that one of the first of 25 new millionaires from this scratch game is from Southern Illinois. I know we’ll see more Southern Illinois winners before all is said and done.” 

Millis purchased his winning ticket at Golconda Gas N Go, which is owned by his nephew, Larry Millis. “I’m his new favorite uncle,” joked the winner, who opted for a one time prize of $600,000 (rather than $1million paid in 20 annual installments). The store will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning scratch ticket. 

Millis received an oversized, commemorative check today from Lottery officials who traveled from Springfield to present the check at the winning store. In honor of the event, for much of the day, store patrons could participate in a player appreciation “MVP” basketball shoot-around where they could shoot baskets at a full sized basketball hoop, winning small prizes for themselves and/or money for their local school district. The MVP events are tied to a statewide 2nd-chance promotion that will see one Lottery player end up taking a half-court basketball shot for a chance to win $1million. More details on the promotion can be found at


About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $20 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at Players must be at least 18 years old.