Pekin Couple Wins ‘$1000/Week/Life’ Instant Game Prize

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

SPRINGFIELD--June 22, 2011-- Wallace and Anneliese Gent of Pekin are the latest winners in the Lottery’s “Cash For Life” instant game series. The couple, who today claimed a “$1,000 A Week For Life” prize in Springfield, have been married 37 years-and have five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren between them. Much of their Lottery windfall will be used to financially assist their various progeny. 

“We don’t really need anything,” said Anneliese, 75. “We go dancing regularly, go fishing almost every week, and eat out every once in awhile. What else do we need? We had it rough when we started out, like so many do. And some of our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids don’t have it so easy. So, we’ll be helping them out as we see fit.” When pressed, Anneliese jokingly says she may buy some new shoes and a dress or two, even though her closet is already full. 

Wallace, 75, retired 22 years ago after a 31-year career at Keystone Steel and Wire in Bartonville. He is similarly modest about his personal plans for the winnings. He loves to fish, but already owns a small jon boat and 25 or so fishing poles--so he’s pretty well set in the fishing department. His 2-year old Chevy Equinox has about 57,000 miles on it (mostly from driving to fishing spots). So, he may--key word “may”--decide to trade it in for a new Equinox in the near future. 

The couple, both of whom had children from previous marriages, know each other well after 37 years of being married to each other. They have developed an easy relationship with comfortable routines. When it comes to the Lottery, the routine is simple: Wallace buys $3 to $6 worth of instant tickets a week, and Anneliese scratches them off at home. They regularly win small prizes, and cash-in the winners to buy more tickets. The Gents were home last Thursday when Anneliese scratched off a $2 Cash For Life ticket that appeared to win $1,000 a week for life. Even though Wallace is not a practical joker, Anneliese wanted to make sure her husband wasn’t somehow trying to fool her by giving her a bogus ticket. 

“She couldn’t believe it,” said Wallace. “‘You better come over and look at this,’” he recalled her saying. When Wallace came over and examined the ticket, he had a stunned look on his face, according to Anneliese. That was her first real inkling that they had hit it big. The next day, June 17, the couple drove to the Lottery’s Springfield office, which confirmed the ticket was a winner. The couple opted to received a one-time payment of $762,000, less taxes.

Most of the couples’ progeny live in Florida, including a 51-year old daughter, Cheryl, who they plan to surprise during an upcoming visit to Florida. “I didn’t tell her the whole news,” said Wallace. “She asked if we won Lotto, after I said we would like to give her a hand financially, and I said, ‘No, we just came into some money.’” A 32-year-old grandson, Michael, who lives in Quincy was also told about the win--in a slightly more direct way. “He was very happy for us,” said Wallace. 

“All of us at the Lottery are happy with the Gents’ win,” said Jodie Winnett, Acting Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. “And we are equally thrilled that Lottery players across Illinois have embraced all three Cash For Life games.” 

The Gents bought their ticket at Quick Pic, 422 Derby St in Pekin. The retailer will receive a $7,620 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The Gents are the fifth grand prize winners to date in the Lottery’s Cash For Life instant ticket series. The $1 game offers prizes of up to $500 a week for life; the $2 game features prizes up to $1,000 a week for life; and the $5 game’s top prize is $2,500 a week for Life. Other $500 a week for Life winners to date include Dan Kaiser of Machesney Park, Vicky Green of Springfield, and Jose Garcia of Chicago. Elizabeth Wilson of Chicago claimed the first $1,000 a week for life prize. None of the $2,500 a week prizes have yet been claimed. There are multiple grand prizes available in all three Cash For Life games. 


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.