Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor man will use $1 million lottery winnings for honeymoon, tuition

PALM HARBOR — What would you do with a million dollars?

For one Palm Harbor man, the question is not a hypothetical.

Vasilios Vassos, 38, won the prize in the Florida Lottery, matching 5 out of 5 numbers in Saturday's drawing.

While a cool mil' doesn't go as far as it used to, Vassos said the amount is plenty to make life better for himself and his family, and to enjoy some of the things he and his wife, Ariana, missed out on in their youth.

"We're finally going to take our honeymoon," Vassos said.

Caribbean cruise, check.

His daughter's college education, he said, will be paid for — she wants to go to USF.

Tuition, double check.

And his mother-in-law, who Vassos said is at risk of losing her house, will get to stay put.

"If she wants it, I'm going to help out," Vassos said.

A day trader by profession, Vassos said he will invest part of his winnings and start a nonprofit, perhaps in education.

"A lot of people losing their shirts. I'd like to help," he said.

Vassos discovered he had won when he went to check his ticket at a supermarket.

"I yelled out in Publix to my wife, 'We won a million dollars!' "

Vassos said the manager came up and told him: "You might want to keep that down," in order to ensure Vassos' security and safety.

But Vassos said he quipped back, with noticeable volume, that it was okay: "I have a gun." But not really — the statement was merely to deter anyone from attempting to steal his ticket.

Ordinarily, Vassos' take would have been $200,000 — but since he spent an extra $1 on the ticket's "Power Play" modifier, his winnings were increased fivefold.

The winning ticket, with numbers 2-7-16-20-46, was sold at Palm Harbor Shell, 32400 U.S. 19 N.

Vassos' winnings would have been much higher — $59 million — if he had also picked the correct Powerball number, which was 34.

Since luck has been on his side, Vassos believes lightning will strike twice.

He wants to continue playing the lottery until he wins a multimillion-dollar jackpot.

Until then, he plans on savoring the recent win — and catching up on sleep.

"It's a happy feeling, to be sure. But I haven't slept much since," Vassos said.

Dominick Tao can be reached at or (727) 580-2951.

Palm Harbor man will use $1 million lottery winnings for honeymoon, tuition 10/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.