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spacer May 01, 2008

Second-chance winners enjoy 'Deal or No Deal' travel package

Dover, DE -- Rita Branum, of Newark, and Charles Hodgson, of North Ocean City, Md., have returned from paradise - or so they said. The lucky winners of the Delaware Lottery's Deal or No Deal instant game second-chance drawing recently enjoyed an expenses-paid, five-day, four-night trip to Hollywood, along with a chance to play the real Deal or No Deal game for up to $1 million.

Branum, who traveled with family, was thrilled with the prize package. "Everything was so nice about the whole trip. The backstage tour of the studios and the tour of the famous Hollywood homes were both great. I had an amazing hotel room with a view of Hollywood Boulevard on one side and the famous Hollywood sign out the other window."

The 49-year-old Delaware native earned a chance to compete on the real Deal or No Deal show, and walked away with $6,200.

"I opened all the big suitcases right in the beginning, so I never really had a good chance [to win the $1 million], but it was just fun being up there," she recalled. "It wasn't the money, it was just the experience that was great."

"I was telling [game show host Howie Mandel] how nervous I was and he just kept saying 'Don't be nervous.' Then he was talking to my family, and they must have said something that made him laugh so hard, but I missed that part. I was just in my own space there trying to calm down and enjoy the moment."

Hodgson, who traveled with his wife, youngest daughter and her friend, said everything about the experience was fantastic. "The trip was perfect and I could not have been more happy. I'm very grateful and, really, still in hog heaven."

The $10,000 suitcase that Hodgson took home from the Deal or No Deal preliminary rounds likely contributed to his euphoria.

"I didn't get to be a contestant on the real show, but I'm not complaining," said the 69-year-old retiree. "It was just a thrill being out there and being on stage. I know my family really got a kick out of seeing me up there. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Both Hodgson and Branum said they are eager to see what kind of game-show scratch off ticket the Delaware Lottery introduces next. "I'm definitely going to keep playing," Hodgson said. "I love these games!"

The prize package included round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and ground transfers between a Los Angeles airport, the hotel, and television studio.
Licensing rights for the Delaware Lottery's Deal or No Deal instant game were obtained from MDI Entertainment, LLC.

Since the start of operations in 1975, the Delaware Lottery has contributed more than $2.6 billion to the state's General Fund to help finance needed state services that benefit everyone in Delaware. The Lottery offers a variety of games: POWERBALL®, HOT LOTTO®, MULTI-WIN LOTTO, PLAY 3, PLAY 4, and assorted Instant Games.

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