Monday 26 September 2016

Think our Lotto jackpot is big? $1.5bn to be split between three winning tickets

Published 14/01/2016 | 06:50

The 1.5 billion-dollar Powerball lottery was so large official signs were unable to advertise it (AP)
The 1.5 billion-dollar Powerball lottery was so large official signs were unable to advertise it (AP)

The winners of the record $1.6 billion U.S. Powerball jackpot had yet to emerge early on Thursday, with lottery officials saying the massive prize will be split between ticket holders in three states - Tennessee, California and Florida.

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Each of the three winning tickets is worth $528.8 million, the California Lottery said. The winning numbers were 08 27 34 04 19 and Powerball 10.

The identities of the winners was not yet known and lottery officials have not said whether anyone has come forward to claim their share of the money.

One ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Chino Hills, east of Los Angeles, California Lottery officials said. Two other winning tickets were sold at locations in Tennessee and Florida, but the cities have not been revealed.

The drawing late Wednesday for the $1.586 billion jackpot was the largest-ever lottery prize in North America. The odds of picking the correct combination were 1 in 292 million.

Crowds descended on the California store after word emerged it had sold a winning ticket, with excited customers snapping pictures and congratulating the sales associate. The store will receive a $1-million bonus, lottery officials said.

The prospect of becoming instantly rich sparked a ticket-buying frenzy that was expected to have reached a rate of $1.3 million per minute during Wednesday's evening rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, told a news conference.

To receive the full jackpot amount, winners have to accept a multi-year annuity, whereas the lump sum cash payout for the jackpot was about $983.5 million, lottery officials said.

For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, half goes to prizes, 40 percent to causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said.

If no winning tickets had been sold on Wednesday the jackpot would have rolled over again, pushing the annuitized prize to an estimated $2 billion, with a cash value of $1.24 billion.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories.

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