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Biggest-Ever Arkansas Lottery Winner Claims Prize

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Eliberto Cantu of Lubbock, Texas, is the winner of the $177 million Mega Millions jackpot from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

Cantu, 71, and his wife, Anita, 67, arrived at the lottery office in downtown Little Rock Monday afternoon to claim the prize. They selected to receive a lump sum payment of approximately $73 million.

"All I can say is, we're blessed – and keep buying lottery tickets!" Mr. Cantu said at the press conference.

Rodrigo Cantu, the winner's son, said his parents haven't quite come to the realization that they've won.

"My father got up the other morning at 5:30, and realized he didn't have to go to work," Rodrigo Cantu said.  

A regular lottery player, Mr. Cantu purchased the winning ticket in late March at All Stop Valero at 408 East 22nd Street in Stuttgart, Ark., while in the area to work a construction job in nearby Hazen.  The convenience store will receive a $50,000 commission for the sale.

He waited until Monday to claim the prize, citing the necessity to make appropriate legal and financial arrangements for the money to make certain it is properly invested.

"They've expressed a desire to take care of our family," said Rodrigo Cantu. "But they are also giving quite a bit of the money to the church they've attended back home for more than 40 years.  They've already purchased a church van and plan to largely fund a new construction project at the church."

State taxes of about $7.5 million and federal taxes of $26.8 million were withheld from the final payment.

"We are very pleased that Mr. Cantu came forward today and that he chose to play the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery," said Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley. "We wish he and his family the very best with their new-found fortune."

Below is a DOWNLOADABLE link to the News Conference.

About the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery
Since its inception in 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided nearly $700 million for in-state college scholarships to Arkansas students, more than $2 billion in prizes to players, created more than 50 millionaires, and paid more than $190 million in commissions to Lottery retailers. More than 92 cents of every dollar of Lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions and other expenses in Arkansas. In fiscal year 2016, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery had nearly 2 million winners every month – more than 2,500 an hour.

About Mega Millions
Mega Millions was originally named The Big Game when the jackpot draw game launched in 1996. Five numbered balls are drawn from 1 to 75, and one numbered ball is drawn from 1 to 15. If all your numbers match those that are chosen, you win the jackpot, which starts at $15 million and grows until someone wins. The Megaplier option can multiply winnings by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times. The game is offered in 44 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Fridays in Atlanta.

Follow the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit MyArkansasLottery.com for more information on scholarships, winners, games, odds, promotions – and to join the free Play It Again™ Rewards Club. To hear winning numbers, call the Winning Numbers Hotline at 501-682-IWON (4966). To get help with problem gambling, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.


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