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Norwalker becomes first CT lottery millionaire of 2013

Updated 7:44 pm, Wednesday, January 9, 2013
  • Wearing a NY Giants hat, Giuseppe ìJoeî Ambrosio, Jr accepts a check from the CT Lottery this week. Photo: Contributed Photo
    Wearing a NY Giants hat, Giuseppe ìJoeî Ambrosio, Jr accepts a check from the CT Lottery this week. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Norwalk resident Giuseppe "Joe" Ambrosio Jr. is a big New York Giants fan and overall a huge sports fan.

But paying the bills has taken priority over seeing Victor Cruz do the salsa after scoring a touchdown.

"I never went to a game and I always wanted to," Ambrosio said. "I am a big sports fan, but never had a chance to enjoy any of the games."

But next season it is likely Ambrosio will go to MetLife Stadium at least once to root for his team in person since last week he became the first Connecticut Lottery millionaire of the new year.

Ambrosio was the

$1 million top prize-winner in the New Year's Super Draw game, which took place Jan. 1.

"I think I will have a little (money) for that," Ambrosio said Friday with a laugh, referring to finally being able to go to a game.

But first things first. Ambrosio said "winning is a big relief" and that he will use the $683,003 check to pay off some bills and then he will put some money away for the future.

As owner of Ambrosio Landscaping LLC in Norwalk, which provides landscaping and masonry services throughout Fairfield County, he admits the last two years have been a struggle because of the economy.

"It's a family business. I've been taking over for my dad, who is getting older now," said Ambrosio, who has been landscaping and doing stone work for 20 years. "The past couple years haven't been the greatest because of the economy.

"I call it a yo-yo account. I'm making money, paying bills, but sometimes it goes out faster than it comes in and you struggle to do things. Having this as a buffer will help me breathe better, at least."

This is not the first time Ambrosio got lucky with the lottery. Last year, he won a couple smaller prizes in the Super Draw. He said he figured he would try his luck again and bought several tickets in October at Tracey's Smoke Shop on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk, where he routinely goes to buy cigarettes and lotto tickets.

On New Year's Day, Ambrosio's uncle called to remind him to check his Super Draw tickets for winners. Ambrosio went to the Connecticut Lottery's website (ctlottery.org) to locate the top prize winning Super Draw number and was shocked to find that one of the tickets he had purchased for the drawing was an exact match for the $1 million top prize.

"I remembered that I had the ticket 111161, because it's an easy number to remember," Ambrosio said. "It was either I was a couple of numbers away from winning, or I had it."

Tracey's Smoke Shop will receive a check for $10,000 for selling the ticket.

The 10 $20,000 second-prize draw ticket numbers were: 108642, 138784, 142332, 301180, 306903, 317946, 318257, 347043, 366262 and 369377. Four of the 10 $20,000 prizes have been claimed so far by Pat Baia, of Guilford; Heather Cianciullo, of Danbury; Jared Weber, of Southington; and Erin Nora Petit, of Southington.

Valerie Lamb, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Lottery, said that there are many more $20,000, $1,000 and $100 prizes remain to be claimed, so people should check their tickets. Draw tickets expire 180 days from their draw date. Tickets for New Year's $1,000,000 Super Draw will expire on June 30.

Lamb said Super Draw is the best chance to win a million dollars.

"Super Draw is a special drawing that to date is held on New Year's Day and the Fourth of July," she said. "Unlike other jackpot-style games (Classic Lotto, Powerball, Mega Millions), Super Draw is based on a limited number of tickets sold (275,000) with a guaranteed number of winners.

"It's your best chance to win a million dollars based on the odds of winning the top prize: 1 in 275,000."

Ambrosio is glad he took the chance.

"I bought quite a bit of tickets," he said. "I figured I would take a chance because I needed something to help. I had to take a chance on something."