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Press release

March 12, 2004

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March, 2004 | Winners Stories

Gilroy Man Wins $1 Million on “The Big Spin®”


SACRAMENTO – California Lottery players from across the state won a total of $1,117,500 on “The Big Spin®” show that aired Saturday, March 13, 2004.

Jose Hernandez, a dentist from Gilroy wins $1 million!  Jose Hernandez, a dentist from Gilroy won $1 million!  After spinning the largest lottery wheel in the world, Hernandez ecstatically said, “I had the opportunity to go to college, and I now want my daughter to have that same opportunity.  It’s nice to know that I now have the money for my daughter’s college education.”  Hernandez purchased his Big Spin Scratchers® ticket at Rose Market in San Jose and found Spin-Spin-Spin when he scratched it.

Thomas Abel, a retiree from Las Vegas, Nevada won $70,000 and was the only contestant on this week’s show to play “Fantasy 5 Dream Machine.”   Abel, who purchased his ticket at Brentwood Liquors in Brentwood, said, “I plan to buy a Cadillac with my winnings.”

Thomas Abel, from Las Vegas, wins $70,000 playing Jose Ortiz from Los Angeles and Scott Viracola of Apple Valley were the two winners in the first round of “Aces High.”  In round two, Viracola won a chance to spin the wheel, while Ortiz won $5,000.  Viracola, who bought his Big Spin Scratchers® ticket at Mrs. Liquor in Apple Valley, spun the wheel for $25,000.  Viracola said, “I’m going to use my prize money to buy a nice car.”

Winner’s Summary:

Jose Hernandez Gilroy $1,000,000
Thomas Abel Las Vegas, NV $70,000
Scott Viracola Apple Valley $25,000
Other Aces High Contestants   $22,500
  TOTAL $1,117,500

How to play “Fantasy 5 Dream Machine”:
Contestants on the “Fantasy 5 Dream Machine” game have up to five chances to launch a ball toward one of the five bins in the pinball-type game.  Each bin represents a cash amount.  One, three, five balls in a bin earns you that amount, while two or four balls in a bin deducts the amount.  Contestants appearing on this segment qualify by mailing an entry form to the Lottery after purchasing $5 of Fantasy 5 games on one playslip.

How to play “Aces High”:
“Aces High” replaced “California Gold” and is the newest game on “The Big Spin®” show.  In round one ten “Aces High” contestants will either win a dollar amount ranging from $1,750 to $4,000 or get one of two “Ace” cards.  The two contestants who end up with an “Ace” card advance to the second round.  The object of the second round is to get a better hand than the opponent, the best hand being four of a kind.  The contestant with the lower hand wins $5,000 and the contestant with the higher hand goes on to spin the wheel and a chance to win $3 million!

Exceeding its mandate to provide 34% of Lottery revenues to public education, in Fiscal Year 2002/2003, the California Lottery contributed $1 billion to public schools, for a third consecutive year.

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