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California Super Lotto

Last Updated: Tuesday 9th January 2007, 10:18 am

The first 2007 winner of California Lottery's Super LOTTO Plus jackpot has been named as Jimmy Balloue from Laguna Hills. Mr Balloue, who is an assistant construction manager, won $41 million on the draw for Saturday 6 January, and in doing so got his new year off to the kind of start he found hard to believe.

He discovered his good fortune when he visited his local lottery retailer to check his ticket. "When I scanned my ticket and the Check-a-Ticket told me I was a winner I couldn't believe it!" Mr Balloue said. "I had to have the clerk double-check the numbers. I got so excited I didn't think I could even drive home. The clerk called my wife to come pick me up and she almost hung up the phone on him. She was so mad; she thought it was a prank!"

The Super LOTTO Plus game give players nine ways to win a prize. To win the jackpot, which always starts at $7 million, players need to match 5 main numbers from 47 and 1 "Mega" number from 27. The odds of doing this are 1 in 41,416,353. Numbers can be selected manually or at random by opting for an automatic QuickPick selection. Tickets cost $1 each and the draw takes place every Wednesday and Saturday evening. With nine prize levels, the overall odds of winning any price are 1 in 23.

Mr Balloue plays both Super LOTTO Plus and MegaMillions every week, but unlike many players he doesn't always buy his tickets from the same place. "I alternate the stores where I buy my tickets and this time I chose Dimension Liquor," he explained after his win. "The store just felt lucky. Every time I buy my tickets there the folks behind the counter knew the names of their customers and just seemed like nice people." The Dimension Liquor store receive a bonus for selling the winning ticket which is worth 0.05% of the ticket value - in this case $205,000.

Mr Balloue opted to take a cash lump sum, which gives him around $20.5 million. And what will the first Super LOTTO Plus winner of 2007 do with his fortune? "I'm going to take care of my close family and buy them homes so they don't have to worry about that ever again," Mr Balloue said. "My wife and I are going to travel and finally take a honeymoon. We're thinking Tahiti!"

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