$72,000,000 Mega Millions Jackpot Winner: "I was hoping for a couple of bucks"

Three other winners from Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan receive prizes totaling $5M

NEW YORK, NY (05/03/2011)(readMedia)-- The New York Lottery today awarded four downstate players a total of $77,000,000 in multistate game and instant ticket prizes. The big winner of the day - John Gillen, a sixty-nine-year-old retired New York City Transit Authority driver/dispatcher from Staten Island matched all five numbers and the Mega Ball from the April 15th Mega Millions drawing earning him and his family a $72,000,000 pay day. Gillen said his winning strategy can be summed up with two words – think small.

"I always check the Mega Ball number first hoping to at least win a few dollars. That morning I just kept matching number after number and couldn't believe it. I had my family double check for me because I didn't believe what I was seeing," explained the father of three and grandfather of sixteen.

The winning results for the April 15, 2011 Mega Millions drawing were: 22 – 23 – 33 – 39 – 48 Mega Ball – 29

Gillen purchased the jackpot winning ticket at his neighborhood Shoprite on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island on April 13, 2011. He claimed the prize at the Lottery's Customer Service Center in Garden City on April 20th. Gillen opted to receive the prize as a one-time lump sum payment representing the current cash value of the $72,000,000 jackpot. He chose to split the prize with his three children with each family member receiving a one-time lump sum payment of $11,142,498.50 or $6,925,508.50 after required withholdings.

The Gillens said they plan to take their time in deciding how to spend their newfound fortunes. "It's all still sinking in really. We've always hoped we'd be lucky enough to win the $250,000 second prize so this is, of course, a huge surprise," said the family patriarch. "We'll take our time, make good decisions and donate some of it to a few of our favorite charities. I know we'll enjoy thinking of all the ways we can use it," he continued.

Other recent instant ticket Lottery millionaires to receive prize checks today include:

• Habib Ullah, 41, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Ullah is cook for KFC. He won $3,000,000 on the $3,000,000 Richer.

• Barnard Cross, 58, Manhattan. Cross is a supervisor for the US Postal Service. He won $1,000,000 on the New York Lottery Black – Series 2.

• Edwar Bakhoum, 55, of Ridgewood, Queens. Bakhoum is a parking attendant at the New York Skyport. He won $1,000,000 on Million Dollar Bankroll.

Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education. It takes into account both a school district's size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.

The New York Lottery continues to be North America's largest and most profitable Lottery, contributing over $3 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 to help support education in New York State. The Lottery's aid represents over 15 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.