$120 Million Man Calmly Claims his MEGA Millions Prize

RELEASE DATE: 9/14/2012

SACRAMENTO – How would you react to winning a MEGA Millions jackpot worth $120 million? For Ronald Willis, he stayed extremely calm, although there was some giggling that could be heard throughout the claiming process today at the California Lottery’s Inland Empire District Office.

Willis found out from his co-workers that a winning ticket had been sold in Riverside, so when he got home that day, he got on his iPad and compared the winning numbers to his ticket – they all matched. “I’m not a yeller or jump around type of guy. When I realized I won, I just stayed calm, sat back and let it soak all in,” he explained in his calm, baritone voice.

The ticket successfully matched the numbers 20, 5, 33, 36, 11 and the Mega number of 11. Willis’ numbers were not a Quick Pick – they were his own numbers that he has been playing since MEGA Millions started in June of 2005 and they consist of birthdays and anniversaries. He only plays MEGA Millions and SuperLotto Plus® and always buys six lines for each draw, twice a week, and he says he has a thing for even numbers.

The jackpot ticket was sold at the 7-Eleven located at 3740 Iowa Avenue Suite 11 in Riverside, but Willis doesn’t ever go to that retailer to buy his tickets – this was the first time. He happened to be picking up his paycheck and decided to stop at this retailer because it was close to his work. Lucky for that retailer he did, because the retailer will receive a bonus of $600,000 for selling the winning ticket.

With four children ranging in age from toddler to high school, Willis says they can all plan for college to be in their futures. Other than that he says, “I want to invest this money and make it grow.” Again, remaining as calm as always!

As a multistate game, MEGA Millions is played in California and 43 other jurisdictions (41 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). California was the only state to hit the MEGA Millions jackpot last night. MEGA Millions jackpot-winning tickets may be claimed up to one full year from the date of ticket purchase. All other wins expire after six months. The California Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their tickets, store them in a safe place, and check the winning numbers after the draw is concluded. In order to claim a MEGA Millions prize, players must present to the Lottery the actual winning ticket. Players pick five numbers from 1 to 56 plus a Mega number from 1 to 46. Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PST. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers. Please visit the California Lottery’s MEGA Millions site for more information. 

As jackpots rise, the California Lottery would like to remind players that gambling should be fun. Borrowing money to play, spending above a person’s budget or using money intended for other purposes can ultimately lead to significant problems for players and their families. If a player recognizes that they have a gambling problem or if they know someone who may have a problem, the Lottery recommends calling the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-800-GAMBLER.