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    For C-Store Operator, Now That's the Ticket!

    Illinois retailer sells himself $2 million lottery ticket.

    KEWANEE, Ill. -- Kenneth Ryan of Kewanee turned $20 into $2 million, thanks to a winning "$2,000,000 Extravaganza" Illinois Lottery instant ticket.

    Quad-Cities Online reports that it was game three of the four-game $20 ticket that made Ryan a winner May 16. In addition to winning the maximum amount on his ticket, Ryan also will receive a 1 percent retailer bonus because he bought the ticket at the Kewanee convenience store he owns and operates, JoJo's.

    While he has owned the store only a year and a half, Ryan said he has been playing the lottery all his life. "I don't remember the first time I bought them, but pretty much all my life."

    Ryan said his $2 million ticket was the last statewide in the game, and he was shocked to discover he had won.

    "I basically started shaking and I couldn't believe it," he said. "I locked the store up that afternoon and drove to Springfield" to claim the winnings.

    According to Illinois Lottery spokeswoman Courtney Hill, it's difficult to determine how rare it is for a retailer to buy a winning ticket at his or her own store.

    "It's not something that happens all the time," she said. "It might be a clerk that signs a claim form, so it's not something that we can really track."

    There's a lump-sum payout policy on all instant tickets with a tax rate of 28 percent, Hill said.

    Ryan said he wants to invest his winnings so he can retire, and has plans for how he'll use his bonus.

    "There are no plans to sell the store. We hired a manager to work," he said. "I'm not really going to retire, I just don't want to be tied down here like I used to be. We're hiring some people to work, so we're basically going to use the bonus to help fund the payroll for a little while."

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