Dick Zelasko

July 5, 2013


$80 million July Mega jackpot claimed!

It took a few weeks for Dick Zelasko to realize he was a millionaire.

Michigan's latest Mega Millions jackpot winner shows off his winning ticket.

Zelasko, of Troy, claimed the $80 million Mega Millions jackpot from the July 5 drawing at Lottery headquarters in Lansing on Friday. The jackpot had originally been advertised at $79 million but was increased as a result of strong sales.

Zelasko said he purchased the easy pick ticket and put it in his wallet. When he checked the ticket at a Lottery self-scanner, the message screen advised him to contact the Lottery. Not necessarily thinking the ticket was a big winner, Zelasko "stuffed it back in his wallet." He even took a vacation and a few golfing trips, all with the $80 million ticket in his wallet.

"That would have been a terrible time to lose your wallet," he laughed.

Zelasko saw a story about a person claiming to be the July 5 winner in his local paper and commented to friends and coworkers that he buys his tickets at the same retailer, John's Market, located at 75 E. Square Lake Rd. in Troy.

He continued to occasionally scan the ticket and after repeatedly getting the same message, then Zelasko went online to check the numbers. That was August 13.

"I thought someone was playing a joke on me," he said. "We paced and paced all night."

Zelasko, who also enjoys playing roulette at the casino, said he's played the Lottery for years and prefers Mega Millions and Powerball. His largest previous prize was $10 or $20. And despite the big win, Zelasko said he will "absolutely" continue to play the Lottery.

"You go with the streak, not against it!" he said.

"For the most part, it is entertainment," Zelasko said. "But sometimes you just get that gut feeling. I'd see the billboard and put myself in the mindset of "what would you do?""

Zelasko is contemplating purchasing a new home as well as a car and said the new-found wealth will allow him "to just take care of family and enjoy the peace of mind" the prize brings. "That really is the biggest reward."

John's Market, a Michigan Lottery retailer since 1986, will receive a $50,000 bonus commission.