Two for Tuesday for the Lottery

Two Cash Spectacular million dollar winners unveiled

For Immediate Release Contact: Liz Leonard 312-368-5823

CHICAGO, IL Nov. 29, 2011—November is ending with a bang for a few lucky Illinois Lottery winners. Restaurant manager Harry Gounaris of Bensenville and one of his regular customers Helmut Schmid of Chicago join Robert Pacione also of Chicago as the newest million dollar winners to come out of the Lottery’s $200 Million Cash Spectacular instant game. 

Harry and Helmut have a tradition of pooling their money every Tuesday and buying instant Lottery tickets at the Thornwood Restaurant in Wood Dale where Harry works. It doesn’t matter who scratches the winning tickets, their philosophy is to split all winnings 50-50. 

Harry and Helmut were presented today with an oversized, commemorative check from Illinois Lottery officials at the restaurant where they bought their tickets. The restaurant will receive a $6,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. 

The winners opted to take a lump sum payment of $600,000. Harry plans to invest the majority of his winnings, but said he is putting aside some of the prize money to payoff car and student loans for his two sons. 

Robert Pacione of Chicago purchased his winning $200 Million Cash Spectacular ticket recently at a 7-Eleven convenience store located on the city’s north side at 2323 W. Lawrence. He said he was extremely happy when he realized he had won and was surprised at how calm he remained when it sank in that he was holding a million dollar Lottery ticket in his hands. 

“I went home and told my kids first,” Robert said. “I plan on paying off some bills, giving my kids some money and saving a bit for myself.” Robert also opted to take a lump sum payment of $600,000. He was presented today with an oversized, commemorative check from Illinois Lottery officials at the 7-Eleven store where he bought his ticket. The store will receive a $6,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. 

 “What a day for the Illinois Lottery,” said Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. “It’s not often that we get to award two million dollar prizes to remarkable people like Robert, Harry and Helmut in one day. The fact that they plan on sharing their winnings with their families makes this story even better. I hope their Lottery wins make their holidays a bit brighter this year.” 

Harry, Helmut and Robert join Kenny Perry of Lake Villa and James Mills of Golconda as the newest members of the $200 Million Cash Spectacular Millionaires Club. According to the Lottery, there are 21 remaining million dollar prizes yet to be claimed in this instant game alone. This game has the highest payout of any $10 game in Illinois Lottery history and will raise more $35 million to support Illinois schools and capital projects. Last year, Illinois students and schoolrooms receive nearly $632 million with $54 million going to the Capital Projects Fund. 


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.