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Comedian Richter pitching lottery’s big games

FILE - In this March 18 2009 file phoAndy Richter arrives for 'Inside 'The Office'' panel discussiAcademy TelevisiArts

FILE - In this March 18, 2009 file photo, Andy Richter arrives for the "Inside 'The Office'" panel discussion at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)

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Updated: April 13, 2013 6:20AM

Yorkville native — and Conan O’Brien sidekick — Andy Richter is starring in the Illinois Lottery’s new advertising campaign to promote the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games.

The ads will air on TV whenever the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot tops $100 million.

Directed by Richter, the TV commercials feature the comedian in the role of Gil Mitchell, an eccentric, charming and slightly silly news anchor tasked with informing Illinoisans about huge Lottery jackpots.

The new campaign also includes television, radio, digital and out-of-home components.

“Research done during the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot almost a year ago indicated that almost half of the adults in Illinois were unaware of the prize amount,” said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. “Yet after the drawing everyone knew that one of the winners was from Redbud (in downstate Illinois).

“We hope that ‘Gil Mitchell’ will create that same kind of universal awareness among adults so that they can take a chance, if they choose to at either a lottery retailer or on the Internet, when the Powerball or Mega Millions prize exceeds $100 million.”

“Working with Andy was so much fun,” Jim Schmidt, partner and creative director at Downtown Partners Chicago, said in a release. “These commercials are sure to gain attention, provide information about the jackpot and make people laugh.”

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