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Sunday 20 April 2014

Hunt on for winner of lottery jackpot worth $590m

Terri Chick (L) and Chris Desmarais of the Multi-State Lottery Association prepare the balls used in the Powerball drawing at the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee May 18, 2013. They are using gloves to prevent the oil on their hands from contaminating the balls, which could change their weight.
Terri Chick (L) and Chris Desmarais of the Multi-State Lottery Association prepare the balls used in the Powerball drawing at the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee May 18, 2013. They are using gloves to prevent the oil on their hands from contaminating the balls, which could change their weight.

A single winning ticket for a record U.S. Powerball lottery jackpot worth $590.5 million was sold in Florida, organizers said late yesterday, but there was no immediate word about who won or where in the state the ticket was bought.

The winning numbers from Saturday night's drawing were: 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball number of 11, and the odds of winning were put at one in 175 million.

The winning ticket was sold at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, a suburb of Tampa, according to CNN.

The grand prize, accumulated after two months of drawings, surpassed the previous record Powerball payoff of $587.5 million, set in November 2012, but fell short of the $600 million sum lottery officials had been advertising.

Organizers had said the final jackpot total could end up slightly higher or lower than expected depending on final sales reported by all 43 participating states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The largest jackpot in U.S. history stands at $656 million, won in the Mega Millions lottery of March 2012. That prize was split between winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.

The Multi-State Lottery Association, based in Iowa, announced Saturday's Powerball results in a brief message on its website, saying, "There was one winner sold by the Florida Lottery for the last drawing's $590,500,000 grand prize."

There was no further information immediately disclosed about the winning ticket, such as where in Florida it was sold or whether more than one individual purchased it.

Had Saturday's drawing failed to yield a winner, the jackpot for the next drawing, set for Wednesday, would have risen to $925 million. After Saturday's results were announced, the jackpot was reset back to $40 million.

"IF I WIN"

The extremely long odds of winning did not deter people from buying up tickets at staggering rates. California was selling $1 million in tickets every hour on Saturday, said Donna Cordova, a spokeswoman for the California Lottery, which has only been selling Powerball tickets since April 8.

Texas Lottery officials reported $1.2 million in hourly sales between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. local time, with ticket sales for the Saturday draw topping $18.4 million.

The ticket sale rate on Saturday was nearly double Friday's rate, Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery, said, and a jump of some 686 percent over last Saturday.

Many Americans were playing the "if I win" game ahead of Saturday's drawing.

"If I win, I'm going to spend a lot of it on liquor, women and gambling," said Austin lawyer Donald Dickson. "I'll likely squander the rest of it."

In New York City, talent acquisition agent Michelle Amici was more philanthropic. "Not sure that I'd buy anything," she said. "Rather, I'd attempt to quench my wanderlust by traveling the world. I'd also donate a large portion to education reform."

Lottery players such as Austin marketing professional Becky Arreaga were not discouraged by the long odds.

"As long as the odds are 1 in anything, I'm in," said Arreaga, a partner at Mercury Mambo marketing firm. "I truly believe I could be the one."

The $2 tickets allow players to pick five numbers from 1 to 59, and a Powerball number from 1 to 35.

"It's only a couple bucks for a small daydream," said Russell Williams, 35, a salesman in Austin, Texas.

Reuters

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