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Illinois Lottery Director Discusses $1.8 Million Big Game Retailer Commission

Aired May 10, 2000 - 1:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A very public drawing has disappointed millions of ticket holders. The two winners -- there are two -- of the $366 million jackpot are still a mystery. In Michigan, a man called lottery officials and gave a validation number which shows he has one winning ticket, but he didn't reveal his name or make an appointment to confirm.

Illinois is still waiting to hear from its Big Game winner. We do know where that ticket was sold.

CNN's Jeff Flock joins us from Sweeney Oil in Lake Zurich.

Hi there, Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, you see it right behind me, and it is a real hotbed of activity today, this Sweeney Oil in Lake Zurich to the north and west of Chicago. Yes, that machine inside there did print the ticket.

And I do want to ask the director of the Illinois Lottery if you have heard from anyone in the last, say, half an hour or so?

LORI MONTANA, ILLINOIS LOTTERY DIRECTOR: No. Officially, we certainly now have met John Sweeney, and we're thrilled to give him his bonus check, but no winner yet.

FLOCK: OK, you mentioned John Sweeney. We have pictures of Mr. Sweeney. Just a short time ago, you had the honor of presenting the check for no small prize: $1.815 million. And there is a tremendous difference between what the guys here in Illinois get that sold the ticket and the guys in Michigan.

MONTANA: You know, each of the partner states has their own system to compensate their agents, their retailers. In Illinois, of course, they get five cents on the dollar and then a 1 percent bonus on all tickets over $1,000. So when you're talking about a ticket sold for $181 million, 1 percent is $1.8 million. So that's Illinois' system.

FLOCK: How long before a person has -- needs to come forward?

MONTANA: Well, a person has one year from the date of the drawing, which was, of course, last night. We do not believe we will see them today, perhaps, but we would hope by next week they have had time. You know, we don't know if this is a single winner, a couple of friends or an office pool. So there's some decisions and some thinking; certainly some celebrating I'm sure they're doing.

FLOCK: Lastly, in addition to the big winner, you had how many other winners in Illinois?

MONTANA: It is important for everyone to check their tickets because in the Illinois last night, we sold 1.1 million winning tickets, including a dozen tickets that are a guaranteed $150,000.

FLOCK: Pretty good deal. In fact, I must report that I won $1 at the Big Money ball, but that was it.

Natalie, what can I tell you?

ALLEN: Spend it all at the Sweeney Oil there, Jeff. Get you a big Coke.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: It's enough to get one more ticket.

ALLEN: I'll tell you what.

So whoever you are out there in Illinois...

WATERS: I guess they're putting up fencing and changing the door locks and things like that -- and phone numbers and things: Hi, old buddy, how are you doing?

ALLEN: Contacting the Secret Service at this moment.

WATERS: Right.

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