News Releases 09/01

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Ocala Woman Claims $22 Million Lotto Jackpot

NR 09-25-01 ... On Monday, Sep 24, a woman from Ocala claimed the $22 million Lotto jackpot from the Sep 22 drawing at Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee. Tiffany L. Johnson (27), who works for a local government agency in Marion County, opted to collect her award in form of a lump-sum payment of $11,618,232, instead of receiving 30 annual installments of approximately $733,333 each.

"I was out shopping on Saturday and decided to stop by the Kwik King to buy $3.00 worth of Lotto tickets," said Tiffany, who was accompanied to Tallahassee by her fiancé, Warren Hope, Jr. (28). "I bought my usual two sets with my birthday numbers and one Quick Pick. I didn't see what the winning numbers were until the next morning."

"I started looking at the Lotto numbers in the Ocala Star Banner Sunday morning while I was getting ready to go to church," Tiffany indicated. "All the numbers seemed to be the same as in the newspaper. This can't be right," she told her fiancé Warren. "I think I won the Lotto, can you check this for me?"

Warren then read the numbers from the paper and replied to her, "Yeah I think you won." He mentioned that "Tiffany was almost on the roof because she was so excited!"

"All I could say was 'Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. I am so happy because I am blessed,'" Tiffany added. The winning numbers matched those on the Quick Pick ticket.

Warren stated that he kept the winning ticket in a safe place at home while Tiffany followed her regular Sunday routine and went to church. "I started crying during parts of the service when the minister talked about special blessings," she revealed. When Tiffany got home from church, she called her mom, Veronica Johnson, and Warren's parents, Rev. Dr. Warren Hope, Sr. and Cynthia Hope, to tell them the good news.

The winner disclosed that she plans to continue working at her present job for the time being. She also plans to use some of her winnings to purchase a new home and a new car, to set up a college fund for herself and other relatives, to buy Warren a new boat, and maybe to take a family vacation to Africa next year.

"We almost didn't make it to Tallahassee today to collect our winnings because a truck ran us off the highway into a ditch," Tiffany expressed. "Now my prayers have been answered because I can do a lot of things, to help people, and now I'm going to be able to do it."

Tiffany bought her lucky ticket at the Kwik King store, located at 1354 SE 135th Street in Ocala. The outlet will receive a $10,000 retailer bonus from the Florida Lottery for selling the jackpot winning ticket.

Tiffany is the 10th Florida Lotto winner with a ticket purchased in Marion County, the 6th winner with a ticket from the city of Ocala, and the 696th overall winner since the game began in 1988.

Total ticket sales for this jackpot generated revenues of approximately $8.4 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund for Florida's schools.

NR 09-25-01 ... Ten Lotto jackpot winning tickets have now been purchased in Marion County, of which six were acquired in Ocala [see below], one in Belleview, one in Citra, one in McIntosh, and one in Orange Lake. The cumulative payout value of those 10 tickets amounts to $107.63 million, a figure that ranks as the 17th highest among all Florida counties. The average payout per Marion County ticket is $10.76 million, and the maximum individual award has been the $22.00 million jackpot won on 22 Sep 01 by Tiffany Johnson in Ocala. Following is an itemization of the six Lotto jackpots won with tickets from Ocala. [Payout and jackpot amounts in $ millions].

Draw Date Numbers Pay / W W Jackpot City
165 06/29/91 13 24 34 35 42 47 $5.80 1 $5.80 Ocala
285 10/16/93 4 15 16 28 31 40 $7.19 2 $14.38 Ocala
377 07/22/95 8 10 16 18 28 48 $16.64 1 $16.64 Ocala
513 02/28/98 5 6 20 28 43 47 $14.22 1 $14.22 Ocala
550 11/14/98 1 8 19 23 35 39 $7.52 3 $22.56 Ocala
799 09/22/01 1 17 23 39 44 53 $22.00 1 $22.00 Ocala

NR 09-21-01 ...  Autumnal Equinox ... The northern hemispheric autumn begins on Saturday, 22 Sep 2001, at precisely 07:00 pm ET. At that moment, the sun crosses the celestial equator on its move southward to the Tropic of Capricorn [-23°27' declination], which it will reach on Dec 21. Since the sun has a declination of 0 degrees on Sep 22, the night and day will be of the same length worldwide. Enjoy the season !!!

Miami Doctor Claims $56.37 Million Lotto Jackpot

NR 09-14-01 ... On Thursday, Sep 13, an employee of the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital claimed the $56.37 million Lotto jackpot from the Sep 5 drawing at Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee. Shirley Press (50), who is a doctor in the Pediatric Emergency Room at Jackson Children's Hospital, opted to collect her award in form of a lump-sum payment of $28,831,655, instead of receiving 30 annual installments of approximately $1.80 million each. After federal taxes, she will get $20,758,791.

"While we are thrilled to have won the Florida Lotto, our thoughts and condolences go out to the families of all those affected by the terrible tragedy that occurred in our country this week." said Shirley. "We will do all we can to help. Also to my friends and colleagues at work, I am sorry that I was not able to reveal myself until now and hope you will understand."

Shirley bought her lucky ticket on the afternoon of the drawing at the Jackson Card and Gift Shop, located at the hospital's parking plaza at 1611 NW 12th Ave. in Miami. The store will receive a $10,000 retailer bonus from the Florida Lottery for selling the jackpot winning ticket.

"I was returning from a class, and I stopped at the gift shop to buy a Peppermint Patty candy bar. I then got in line to buy $6 worth of Lotto Quick Pick tickets for the drawing," indicated Shirley, who has been a pediatric emergency room physician for more than 20 years. "I didn't look at my tickets until I got home from work late Thursday night. I read the numbers in the Miami Herald to myself and I was in total disbelief. I just started trembling!"

Shirley stated that she put her ticket in a bank safe deposit box on Friday and that she went to work on her next shift. She pretended as if nothing had changed in her life and didn’t reveal anything to anyone at work. "I just pretended it wasn't real. I just went about my normal activities."

The winner said her attorney, Michael Dribin of Broad and Cassel law firm of Miami, called her late Monday night to confirm that she indeed had the six winning numbers. "Mike called me 15 minutes before my shift ended and told me I was really the winner. Then I believed I had really won! I didn't know how I was going to get through the last 15 minutes of my shift though."

"When I heard what happened with the tragic events on Tuesday, I felt guilty about my good fortune," Shirley expressed. "However, my attorney advised me to drive to Tallahassee today [Sep 13] to claim my winnings."

Shirley disclosed that she plans to make a donation to a relief fund to help the families of the victims. She will also buy her mother a new car and put the remainder of her winnings in a trust. She plans to stay at her job.

Shirley is the 123rd Florida Lotto winner with a ticket purchased in Miami-Dade County, the 80th winner with a ticket from the city of Miami, and the 695th overall winner since the game began in 1988.

Total ticket sales for this jackpot generated revenues of approximately $34.50 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund for Florida's schools.

NR 09-08-01 ... Added a new Mega Money table to M Main exhibiting the 10 most recent Mega Balls, jackpot payouts, winners and ticket selling locations.

Lotto Jackpot Actually Reached $56.37 Million

NR 09-07-01 ... Actual ticket sales pushed Wednesday's Lotto jackpot to $56.37 million, thereby placing it as the third highest individual payout in Lotto history. Ticket sales reached a peak rate of 40,500 per minute statewide at 7 pm on Wednesday. The winning ticket was sold at Jackson Card and Gift, located at 1611 NW 12th Ave. in Miami, and the store will receive a $10,000 retailer bonus from the Florida Lottery. The lucky winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to redeem his award in Tallahassee, and may choose between a cash option payout of $28,831,655 or 30 annual installments of approximately $1,879,000 each. Through the series of 8 rollovers, over 1.34 million Lotto players won a prize and an estimated $34 million were raised for Florida's public education.

Miami-Dade County Registers First Lotto Jackpot In 11 Months

NR 09-06-01 ... Yesterday’s jackpot of $56.37 million was the first one to be won by a ticket purchased in Miami since almost an entire year. The last jackpot claimed by a Miami ticket had been a $7.00 million prize on 7 Oct 00, exactly 334 days ago. Between 7 Oct 00 and 5 Sep 01, a total of 94 Lotto draws passed by without registering a single winning ticket from Miami or Miami-Dade County. This was an unusually long "drought spell" for Florida’s most populated district, as Miami-Dade County registers a Lotto winner every 6.46 draws on average. Between 1999 and 2000, for instance, no less than 19 jackpot tickets were sold in MDC, and in aggregate the region now accounts for over 17% of all Lotto winners.

Lotto Jackpot Winning Tickets Purchased In Miami-Dade County  [1988 - 2001]

Year 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 Total
Win 2 11 6 10 10 14 16 11 10 8 5 13 6 1 123


Wednesday’s jackpot of $56.37 million is also the largest individual payout to be won by a ticket purchased in Miami-Dade. It surpasses the $28.68 million award from 20 Mar 93, which was the payout from an $86.04 million jackpot shared by three winners, and the previous record holder. Even though the $86.04 million jackpot was larger in its totality, the fact that it was shared by three winners from different areas meant that "only" a third of its value would be allocated to Miami-Dade [the other two winners purchased their tickets in Jacksonville and Tampa, respectively]. This scenario also applies to a few other occasions when the total jackpot in MDC was over $56.37 million, but when several joint winners from diverse areas redistributed the regional allocation.

Top 5 Individual Lotto Payouts In Miami-Dade County

Draw Date Numbers Payout / W W Jackpot
794 09/05/01 3 9 10 24 33 35 $ 56.37 m 1 $ 56.37 m
255 03/20/93 7 12 14 18 27 47 $ 28.68 m 3 $ 86.04 m
395 11/25/95 1 10 22 24 29 39 $ 28.52 m 1 $ 28.52 m
614 12/15/99 6 18 32 36 46 48 $ 27.08 m 3 $ 81.24 m
624 01/19/00 1 2 3 17 28 39 $ 25.00 m 1 $ 25.00 m


Wednesday’s prize of $56.37 million is the 123rd Lotto jackpot to be won by a ticket purchased in Miami-Dade. Altogether 15 cities in the county have now registered a jackpot winner, among them Coral Gables, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-Locka, Perrine, Princeton and South Miami. Indeed, Miami-Dade can bolster more than twice the number of jackpot winners than the closest following county, Palm Beach, which has sold 57 winning tickets. However, it should also be stressed that MDC harbors twice as many residents as Palm Beach County does. Currently, over 2.25 million people live in MDC while about 1.13 reside in PBC. Thus, Miami-Dade’s share of Lotto jackpot winners [17.70%] is relatively commensurate with its proportion of overall Florida State residents [2.25 million of 16 million = 14.10%].

Lotto Jackpots By City In Miami-Dade County

City in Miami-Dade W Last Jackpot
Coral Gables 1 01/22/94
Hialeah 10 09/04/99
Hialeah Gardens 1 10/26/91
Homestead 4 04/20/96
Key Biscayne 1 06/29/96
Miami 80 09/05/01
Miami Beach 8 09/13/97
Miami Gardens 1 05/22/93
Miami Lakes 1 05/11/96
North Miami 6 02/26/00
North Miami Beach 5 05/22/99
Opa-Locka 2 01/30/93
Perrine 1 01/04/92
Princeton 1 08/19/89
South Miami 1 06/17/89
Total 123  

One final word. Miami-Dade has now ended an "arduous" 11-month, 94-draw stretch without witnessing a single Lotto jackpot winner … and done so in grand style! But let’s not forget about neighboring Broward County. It so happens that BC is currently enduring an even longer "drought period" of an unbelievable 17 months without seeing a single jackpot winner. The last time that somebody claimed Lotto’s main prize in Broward was on 4 Apr 00, exactly 523 days ago … almost an eternity!

NR 09-02-01 ... Eighth rollover in Lotto leaves jackpot of $56.37 million for Wednesday, Sep 5 !!! This is the 12th highest jackpot in Lotto history and the highest since 22 Jul 00. The current rollover series of 8 consecutive draws without a winner is the second longest in Lotto history and the third of its kind. Last year, two rollover series of 8 consecutive draws each produced jackpots of $81.60 million [on 03-29-00] and $66.99 million [on 07-22-00], respectively. In 1999, a still record rollover series of 9 consecutive draws yielded a jackpot of $81.24 million [on 12-15-99].

From To D Jackpot W Ticket Selling Locations
11-10-99 12-15-99 9 $ 81.24 m 3 Boca Raton Miami Pompano B
02-26-00 03-29-00 8 $ 81.60 m 1 Holiday    
06-21-00 07-22-00 8 $ 66.99 m 1 Vero Beach    
08-04-01 09-05-01 8 $ 56.37 m 1 Miami