Infrequent Lottery Player Wins $1mil Merry Millionaire Prize

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

KEWANEE, IL—Jan 20, 2012—Brad Bryner of Kewanee plays the Lottery only on rare occasions—when the mood strikes or the Mega Millions/Powerball jackpot nears $200 million. Perhaps it was the spirit of the season, but something compelled him December 23 to buy a Merry Millionaire ticket. That ticket turned out to be a $1million winner, resulting in a very merry Christmas for Bryner and his family.

Bryner, 43, and his wife, Dawn, didn’t initially know they won anything on the ticket; in fact, Bryner tried to enter the ticket via the internet as a non-winner in a special Merry Millionaire second-chance promotion.

Bryner’s ticket, however, was not accepted as a valid entry (because it was a winner). Upon closer examination, Brad and Dawn realized the ticket was indeed a big winner. “I kept getting the ticket out and looking at it,” he said. Dawn told him, “it sure looks like a winner,” but the couple wasn’t 100 percent convinced until they drove to Springfield in early January to present the ticket to Lottery officials, who confirmed its validity.

Brad and Dawn, 36, own a sign business in Kewanee, Say It Signs, and will invest part of the winnings in the business. The couple’s home mortgage will likely be erased after the Lottery check arrives in the Bryner’s bank account later this month. “We intend to be as smart with the money as we can be,” said Brad. “We plan to make it work for us and our family.” The Bryners have two teenage sons who know their parents aren’t going to let the boys’ whims derail their prudent financial plans.

Bryner bought his winning ticket at Jo Jo’s Convenient in Kewanee. Store owner Kenny Ryan has a soft spot for the Lottery, and readily agree to host a Lottery check-presentation event today at his store on Main Street. Part of Ryan’s affinity for the Lottery stems from the fact that he sold a $2million instant-game winner—to himself—six years earlier. In addition, he sold a $50,000 Little Lotto winner to a customer some four years ago. “I think the Lottery is great, and Jo Jo’s is a great place to buy tickets,” he said.

In claiming his prize, Bryner opted for a one-time payment of $600,000 (rather than $50,000 per year for 20 years). He should receive the lump-sum prize payment by the end of January.

Merry Millionaire tickets costs $20, and features 1-in-2.98 overall odds of winning a prize. There is still one unclaimed $1million instant prize in the game (one of three total), as well as 400 unclaimed prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. Non-winning Merry Millionaire tickets may be entered in a second-chance drawing for a special $3million prize that will be awarded later this year. Details on this and other Lottery promotions 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.