Cuba Man Who Played Family Birthday #S For 20 Years Wins $5.2mil Lotto Prize

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

FAIRVIEW, IL—July 19, 2012— Perhaps it was the date (7-11), perhaps it was the moon, but there is no denying Wednesday July 11 was a lucky night for Robert Fidler, when all six of his long-favored Lotto numbers were selected, garnering the Cuba man and his wife a $5.2 million Lotto prize.

For over 20 years, Fidler has played the same Lotto numbers, which correspond to family birthdates and social security numbers.  He only plays when the jackpot reaches $3 million or more, and routinely buys his tickets at the Fairview Quickstop.

Thursday morning after the drawing, Fidler, 74, stopped in Quickstop to check his numbers.  He was greeted with news that his favorite Fairview store had sold a $5.2 million winner in the previous night’s drawing. “We’ve been waiting for you,” said Becky Ball, a friend of the Fidlers and long-time store employee.  “Maybe you’re the winner!”

After scanning the ticket in the store, Fidler’s face turned white and he had trouble breathing, despite the fact that he “always said I would win Lotto one day.”  After he caught his breath, Fidler called his wife, Christina, and the two of them—both retired school teachers--drove to the Lottery’s Springfield office to claim the prize.  Before their trip to Springfield, they talked with a financial planner from David Vaughan Investments in Peoria, who provided some initial advice on how to claim the prize. The Fidlers, who have been married 37 years, have met subsequently with their financial advisor. “We want this money to last for generations to come,” said Robert.

“We are so thrilled for the Fidlers—a wonderful couple—and equally happy that they intend to invest wisely, with and eye toward the future,” said Lottery Supt. Michael Jones. “Likewise, we offer our congratulations to Fairview Quickstop, a fantastic Lottery retailer, where you can purchase gas, convenience store items, or a tasty dine-in meal.”

The Fidlers have two adult children, son Jake and daughter Janel, as well as two beautiful, young granddaughters, all whom will benefit at some point from the Lottery windfall.  Another benefactor will be Bob’s daughter from a previous marriage, Debra Zaborac, who works at the JC Penny in Canton. 

Son Jake manages Fairview Sale Barn, a cattle auction house that is partially owned by his father, Robert, who works there part-time. Daughter Janel works at a California Veteran’s Hospital, where she assists traumatized soldiers returning from war.

Robert may purchase a new Cadillac to replace his current 2003 model, which has close to 300,000 miles on the odometer.  Christina loves to travel, and may use part of the money to finance an African safari, a long-time dream of hers.  Other than that, the couple’s financial plan is to build and maintain a nest egg for their heirs.

In claiming the $5.2 million prize (offered in 26 installments), the Fidlers opted for a one-time payment of $4,047,802.50 (less required withholding).  They will receive their prize in about three weeks.

The Fairview Quickstop will receive a bonus of $52,500 for selling the ticket.  Store owners Jim and Carolyn Petersen are still deciding how best to invest their bonus.  The winning numbers from the July 11, 2012 drawing were:   04, 07, 09, 12, 29 and 47.


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.