The answer to the mystery of who won the $1 milllion prize in the Ultimate Millions Instant Ticket Game that was sold at Cal’s News is: Michael Chol Ater.
Ater received his first of 20 annual checks from the Mass State Lottery, opting for a yearly payout over one lump sum.
“We’re very excited,” said Barry Calvani of Cal’s News after learning of the winner’s name from the Lynn Journal. “I know Michael well and I’m very happy for him. I want to see him step out from behind the curtain. Everybody has been asking me, ‘Who was it? Who was it?”
Calvani said the Lynn Journal was the store’s “good luck charm,” having published a recent, front-page story in the newspaper that Cal’s News hadn’t sold a $1 million ticket since the Instant Ticket Games began in 1974.
“Had I known that all it would have taken was an interview with the Lynn Journal, I would have done it many years ago,” jested Calvani.
The winning ticket at Cal’s was the seventh prize of $1 million or more in the city this year (see accompanying chart). One store, the 7 Eleven, 50 Western Ave., sold a $4 million Instant ticket and a $1 million Instant ticket this year.
“I love to see the Lottery players win, that’s what drives sales,” said Calvani. “In my own store, I have people who are regulars and some who haven’t been in the store for awhile. And now the search is on for $1 million winner No. 2 at Cal’s. Lottery players are superstitious by nature and now there’s a large percentage of people who think Cal’s is now a quote, unquote, “lucky store.”
Mass Lottery Assistant Executive Director and Communications Director Christian Teja said each store that sells a $1 million ticket gets a one percent bonus, meaning that Cal’s News will receive a $10,000 bonus.
“It’s always exciting when a store sells a million-dollar ticket, especially when it’s their first,” said Teja. “And even more exciting when they’ve been in business for such a long, long time like Cal’s.”
Teja said a new set of Instant Ticket Games will be launched in January. There are currently five ongoing Holiday Instant Ticket Games.
“Holiday tickets always make great gifts,” said Teja, noting that all recipients must be 18 years of age or older.
Teja noted that the Lottery’s Lucky For Life twice-weekly (Monday and Thursday) game will become a daily game beginning in July.