West News Wire: The Mega Millions jackpot has been won by a single lottery ticket holder in the United States for $1.35 billion.
The jackpot’s organizers announced on Saturday that the winning ticket was purchased in the northeastern state of Maine, however the winner’s identity has not yet been made public.
The winning ticket, which cost $2, was purchased in Lebanon at the convenience shop Hometown Gas & Grill.
Pat McDonald, director of the Ohio Lottery and senior director for the Mega Millions Consortium, issued a statement congratulating the Maine State Lottery for having just won its first-ever Mega Millions jackpot. The fourth $1 billion prize in Mega Millions history was won.
Late on Friday night, six numbers were picked, and the winning combination was: 30, 43, 45, 46, 61, and gold Mega Ball 14.
The winner overcame steep odds of 1 in 302.6 million, which led to three months of drawings without a claim on the jackpot.
“There’s quite a buzz at our small-town gas station this morning, I’ll tell you that,” said Fred Cotreau, the owner of Hometown Gas & Grill.
The first thing he did was check to see if he had bought the winning ticket, which he had not.
“Hopefully one of the residents and one of the regular customers is the winner,” Cotreau said. “It’s exciting to have sold it but it’s just more exciting for a single winner and I’m just really hoping it’s somebody here in town.”
To claim the full $1.35bn, the winner would need to take the money in an annuity with annual payments over 29 years.
Most jackpot recipients prefer the reduced but quicker cash option, which for Friday night’s drawing was an estimated $724.6m.
The jackpot had been rolling since it was last won on October 14, when a $502m prize was shared by winning tickets in California and Florida.
It is the second-largest in the 20-year history of the game, topped only by the $1.537bn won in South Carolina in October 2018.
In addition to the jackpot-winning ticket, 14 tickets matched all five numbers to win the game’s second-tier prize of $1m.
Four were sold in New York, two in California, and one each in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Half of the proceeds from the sale of each Mega Millions ticket remains in the state where the ticket was sold, where the money supports lottery beneficiaries, such as education or public employee pensions, and retailer commissions.
Cotreau, the owner of Hometown Gas & Grill, stands to receive a substantial bonus for the ticket.
“I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna call my lottery agent first thing Monday morning to find out.”