To quit or not to quit is not even a question for a 51-year-old industrial sales representative turned instant multi-millionaire. Bill Gano of Memphis, Tenn., matched all six Missouri Lotto numbers drawn on Nov. 14, earning him a $4.2 million payday, the largest Lotto jackpot of the year.
"Six months ago, I started calling on a power plant in Marston," Gano began. "My routine would be to stop by the Pilot gas station and get fuel and buy some Lottery tickets."
It was more than a week after the Nov. 14 drawing that Gano remembered he still needed to check his Quick Pick ticket he bought at Pilot Travel Centers, 917 E. Elm St., in Marston.
"I had to do a double-take, actually a triple-take!" Gano exclaimed, adding that while he assumed some would want to "retire early" after winning a jackpot, he didn’t share those sentiments.
"I thought about quitting my job," he teased. "But I can’t, because I own my own company, and I love my job."
The father-of-two didn’t initially share the news with his children. Instead, he went days without letting either of his daughters know that their father was a newfound millionaire – that is, until today.
Gano told his eldest daughter, Lauren, who was home from college on break, that he wanted her to accompany him to a work event. In reality, Gano was "having some fun." The fictitious business meeting was a ploy to entice her to make the trip from Tennessee to Missouri. When Bill and Lauren arrived at Pilot Travel Centers today at 1 p.m., they were greeted by Missouri Lottery officials waiting to award Gano with a ceremonial check.
As for plans for the windfall, Gano intends to "take care of family obligations first. "I definitely would like to pay off my mother’s mortgage," he explained. "Then, I’ll try to invest and help people that need help, either through our church or other means. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but you can help people with it."
The lucky Lottery winner added that he feels "very fortunate, extremely lucky (and) blessed."
In addition to Gano’s prize, Pilot Travel Centers received a $5,000 incentive for selling the winning ticket.
Lotto jackpot winners can either receive their prize in one lump-sum payment, which is half of the advertised jackpot, or winners can take their prize as an annuity, which would spread out the prize in 25 annual payments. Gano elected to receive his winnings in one lump sum, amounting to $2.1 million before taxes.
Gano is the 351st Missouri Lottery-made millionaire and the 215th Missouri Lotto jackpot winner since sales began in 1986.