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Chicago Man Wins Largest Instant Game In Illinois History

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Lisa Fielding Lisa Fielding
Lisa Fielding is a news anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780. She...
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Anel Bajtarevic holds up a check after claiming the largest instant game jackpot in Illinois history. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Anel Bajtarevic holds up a check after claiming the largest instant game jackpot in Illinois history. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

CHICAGO (CBS) — For 26-year-old Anel Bajtarevic, a trip to the grocery store on June 17 changed his life forever.

“I went to the Dominick’s on Howard to buy groceries, walked by the machine and the 20 by 20 caught my eye. I put in 20 bucks and I ended up winning,” said Bajtarevic.

He says when he scratched it off in the car, he wanted to make sure it was for real.

“When I saw the 20X symbol, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

He went to the customer service desk to scan the barcode and was surprised to see the message ‘file a claim’ appear.

“I called my mom right away,” he said.

Tuesday he was presented with the ceremonial check for $20.8 million.

“We knew that the grand prize would be the largest ever in our instate product category and we’re happy that that Anel won it,” said Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones.

Anel Bajtarevic shows off his winning ticket. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Anel Bajtarevic shows off his winning ticket. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Bajtarevic will receive $20,000 a week for 20 years, the largest instant game in history. He says he hasn’t really thought about what he’ll do with his winnings.

“I’ll likely spend it on family, friends, take a nice vacation and then go back to work. I haven’t really thought about it yet.”

Bajtarevic is an only child, born in Bosnia and raised in Chicago. He owns his own trucking company and says he’ll likely use his new money to expand his business as well.

“I’ll probably hire a few more employees and build an office.”

This particular lottery vending machine has only been at this Dominick’s, 1763 W. Howard, for about a month. For selling the winning ticket, the store will receive one percent of the jackpot.

“We hope this will encourage more people to come here and buy lottery tickets,” said store manager, Tom Allen.

Bajtarevic says it’s the first time he ever even played the 20×20 game. He says his new riches haven’t quite sunk in.

“This is all so unbelievable.”

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