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Three share $640m in US lottery

The largest lottery jackpot in US history of $640m (€480m) has at least three winners, officials and media reports said yesterday, and officials were waiting for the winners to come forward.

Lottery officials in Maryland and Illinois said that winning tickets were purchased in their states, and a winning ticket was also bought in Kansas, according to several media reports.

The winners whose tickets had all six numbers of the Mega Millions lottery drawn on Friday night will split the jackpot. Winners can receive either a one-time payment of their share or take it in 26 annual instalment payments.

Michael Jones, Illinois Lottery superintendent, said a winning ticket was sold in Red Bud, a tiny town near St Louis.

He said the winner will get a $213m (€160m) share of the jackpot, the largest prize in state lottery history.

A lottery official in Maryland said yesterday that the winning ticket in that state was sold at a 7-Eleven store.

There had been a tremendous amount of excitement ahead of the drawing, with over one billion tickets sold, lottery officials said.

The previous largest Mega Millions jackpot was $390m in 2007, which was split between two ticket holders.

About half the lottery money goes back to ticket holders in the form of winnings, 35 per cent to the states and 15 per cent to retailer commissions and lottery operating expenses.

Sunday Independent