Merle and Patricia Butler

World record lottery winners go public

Gaming Success Stories

A retired couple from Red Bud, Illinois have come forward as the winners of a $218 million share of the world record $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

Merle and Patricia Butler claimed their share of a world record $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot on Wednesday, The Telegraph reported.

Merle is a former insurance agent, while Patricia worked at several companies, retiring nearly five years ago. The couple have been married for 41 years.

The state of Illinois requires the winner’s identity to be revealed. But two other winning ticket-holders, in Kansas and Maryland, have chosen to remain anonymous.

The couple can choose to claim $158.9 million as a lump sum before taxes, or take $218.6 million in 26 yearly installments. Either way, it’s the largest prize in Illinois Lottery history.

At a news conference in Red Bud, Mr Butler said the couple waited three weeks to come forward after the March 30 drawing because they met with financial advisors and an attorney, while the winning ticket was kept in a safe deposit box at their bank.

“We are just everyday people who have worked hard all our life, who love our family and our city, (and) pay our taxes,” Merle Butler said at the conference. “We just happened to hit it big in the lottery. We enjoy spending time with our family and friends, and — believe it or not — don’t anticipate our day-to-day lives changing all that much because of the win.”

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Patricia Butler said. “Winning this amount of money is a major responsibility, one we take seriously and will figure out step-by-step as we go along. I’m sure we will be using part of the winnings to do some real good; we just don’t know yet how that might manifest itself.”

Mr Butler said he only plays the lottery when the prize is big enough – usually he waits until it hits $150 million.

The couple said they’d like to invest the money, buy a new car and watch a few St Louis Cardinals baseball games. They also want to financially assist their two children and their grandchildren.

Lana Galea View Comments

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