Will split $61 million prize
Includes video report
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bettina Still of Bellevue has been a faithful player of the Tennessee Lottery since it started with a simple belief that she could someday win.
But Still, 69, and family members needed more than a double-take after realizing her Mega Millions ticket was worth up to $61 million.
"Like it's unreal, really it's unreal," Still said Friday at the Tennessee Lottery office claiming their prize. "I don't know how I feel."
Still, a retired worker with the state of Tennessee, and her son Jonathan have played lottery games together for years and will split the winnings.
They chose the lump sum payout of approximately $24.5 million after taxes instead of receiving the amount by installments, lottery officials said.
The ticket was purchased at the Bellevue Shell on Old Harding Pike for $1 and matched the game's six numbers drawn Jan. 3. The Stills' buy tickets at several Bellevue locations.
"I am truly grateful for this blessing," Bettina Still said in a statement. "I have played the lottery since it first arrived in Tennessee and have always believed that I could win. As I keep telling my friends, you can't win if you don't play. Knowing you can win is one of the biggest thrills in the world. It's part of the fun of playing."
"But honestly, when I realized Id'd actually won, I was astonished and nearly fainted ... just absolutely astonished."
Still and her son waited nearly a week to claim their prize so they could consider their options and consult with a financial adviser.
The Stills are Tennessee's first winner of Mega Millions, which became part of the Tennessee Lottery in January 2010.
The Tennessee Lottery will celebrate its 10-year anniversary Jan. 20. Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove believed the Stills' win could help spur on sales.
"When people see people do win, it does increase excitement," Tennessee Lottery spokeswoman Kym Gerlock said.
VIDEO: Watch the press conference
Thanks to rdgrnr for the tip.