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updated: 3/16/2013 2:59 PM

St. Patrick's Day lottery winnings claimed just in time

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Three Chicago-area relatives stepped forward only three days before $1 million in lottery winnings they're set to receive from last year's St. Patrick's Day drawing would have expired, Illinois Lottery officials said.

The winning ticket was sold at a Wood Dale gas station during a St. Patrick's Day raffle promotion last year.

The names of the winners are not yet being released, but officials said their lawyer presented the winning ticket Thursday at a Lottery office in Des Plaines.

The winnings were claimed in the nick of time because lottery tickets expire exactly a year after the drawing, meaning midnight Sunday is the deadline in this case.

The $1 million ticket sold in Wood Dale is the second big winner sold in the suburbs during last year's St. Patrick's Day raffle. According to the Lottery website, another $1 million ticket was sold at Bills Village Marathon at 1501 S. Busse Road in Elk Grove Village.

But the prize claimed this week was not the only money still waiting to be dispersed from last year's St. Patrick's Day raffle, Lottery officials said. Of 509 winning tickets chosen, 27 prizes of $1,000 each have not yet been claimed.

Anyone who bought a St. Patrick's Day raffle ticket last year can visit the past drawing results page of the Lottery website to see if their ticket is a winner.

Jim Batson, one of the owners of TJV Marathon at 389 E. Irving Park Road in Wood Dale, where the $1 million ticket was sold last year, said he has been displaying a "wanted" poster advising lottery players to check their tickets so the winner could be found.

"I've been asking everyone to buy another one -- maybe you'll get lucky twice at the same place," Batson said Saturday.

He said he did not know who bought the winning ticket, and whether the person is a regular customer or someone who stopped in once, because he had not yet heard confirmation that the prize had been claimed.

Lottery officials said more information about the last-minute winners will be available next week.

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