Many people dream of winning a million dollars. But for several people in the Southern Tier, that dream is now a reality. The New York Lottery presented three million dollars in prize money from three winning tickets to local lottery players Friday. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us what the winners plan to do with their prize money.
NICHOLS, N.Y.- Spencer resident Sally Richards bought a $5 "20X the Bucks" scratch off ticket on New Year's Eve. She hit the million dollar top prize and turned into the first New York Lottery millionaire of 2013.
"Well I kept repeating, "jackpot, 1 million dollars." I said, "I think I'm an instant millionaire,"" said Richards.
And she's not the only lucky winner in the Southern Tier recently.
Nancy Burston of Trumansburg bought "Holiday Magic" scratch off tickets for her family's Christmas stockings. One of them turned out to be a million dollar Christmas present, which Burston and three of her family members plan to split.
"You can't even believe it, it takes a while to sink in, you have to have somebody else tell you you won," said lottery winner Terry Clingen.
Abdel Mallouk and Amy Bush are also celebrating. The Horseheads couple is splitting a million dollars that they won on a "Win $1,000 A Week For Life " scratch off ticket.
"I couldn't believe it. My heart was pounding. I didn't know if it was true or not. I had to look at it 5 times," said Mallouk.
The winners received their ceremonial over-sized checks at Tioga Downs Casino on Friday.
So what would you do with that kind of money? Well all of the winners have different plans.
"I'm gonna do some shopping and be less stressed," said Richards.
"Mainly basic things, paying off graduate school loans, paying off mortgage, paying off home equity loans, and then of course everyone likes a little traveling, my husband wanted me to throw that in," said Burston.
"Paying off mortgage, and travel, and family," said lottery winner Amy Bush.
And for those who are looking for a little bit of advice on how to win...these lottery players say don't give up.
"Just keeping trying, eventually you get surprised," said Clingen.
The winners say you just have to hope for a little bit of luck.