PHOENIX (Jan. 6, 2010) — Roger and Deanna Phillips of Apache Junction stepped into the Arizona Lottery office in Phoenix late Wednesday morning expecting to walk away with a check for $1,000 from the Millionaire Raffle Holiday Edition — but instead were handed a check for $1 million.
The retired couple is the grand prize winner of the latest Millionaire Raffle, which held its final drawing on Monday, Jan. 4, awarding more than $3 million in cash prizes, from $500 to the single $1 million grand prize.
On Wednesday afternoon, the couple were handed a check for $1 million, minus taxes, at a press conference and check presentation at Lottery headquarters.
Deanna Phillips said they had purchased the ticket in December as a Christmas gift to each other. On Wednesday morning, they stopped at a local Circle K on their way to the gym and checked their ticket there. The only information the clerk was able to share was that they had won a prize of at least $500. “We were hoping for a thousand,” Deanna Phillips told a crowded room of media and other onlookers.
Instead of heading to the gym as planned, the couple decided to drive to the Lottery office and claim their prize. That’s when a Lottery employee checked the ticket in the scanner and told the couple they had won the grand prize. “I’m glad we found out here, otherwise I would not have been able to drive here,” Deanna Phillips said. “If I would have known I was going to be a millionaire, I would have changed out of my gym clothes!”
The couple, who will be married 50 years this August, plans to take a cruise with their new winnings. In addition to investing some money, Deanna Phillips said she would like to buy a new car or buy new tires for the one she has.
It was the first Millionaire Raffle ticket the couple had ever bought. They play other Lottery games once or twice a month, but had never won more than a few dollars here and there.
“The best part of our jobs is when a new $1 million winner walks through our doors and allows us to celebrate with them,” said Jeff Hatch-Miller, executive director of the Arizona Lottery. “We’re especially excited to be sharing this momentous event with such a wonderful couple who won big with our Millionaire Raffle Holiday Edition, and we look forward to ushering in more big cash prize winners from this game.”