Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ticket wins huge Powerball jackpot

The Powerball lottery jackpot was over 400 million dollars (AP)

The lone winning ticket for the 425 million dollar (£255 million) Powerball jackpot was sold at a convenience store in northern California, but there was no immediate word on who may have won one of the largest lottery jackpots in US history.

The ticket was sold at Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, a city north of San Jose that bills itself as The Gateway to The Silicon Valley, California lottery officials said. The business will receive one million dollars (£600,000) for selling the winning ticket.

Store owner Kulwinder Singh was en route to India and was not expected to hear about the one million dollar prize until after he landed in New Delhi and called the family, his son Parmeet said.

Parmeet said he planned to tease his father before breaking the news.

"'Hey dad, what would you do if you had one million dollars?'" he said he would ask him.

His parents are humble people, he said, so he did not expect them to splurge on anything.

The family-run petrol station is just off Highway 880, with an attached car wash and Subway sandwich shop. The car park was crowded on Thursday morning with television news vans.

Inside the store, dozens of reporters and photographers crowded the aisles of snack foods as Parmeet talked about his surprise at hearing the news, and the store's regular customers bantered about the prospect that one of them could have been the winner.

"I didn't believe it," Parmeet said. "I ran outside and yelled, 'Oh, my God!'"

He and employees at the store said they did not know who the winner could be.

Rajwinder Singh, one employee, said that he believed he was probably the person who sold the winning ticket.

"I've been here working from 8am to 8pm," he said. "I hope I'll find out soon."

The ticket was the only one to match all the winning numbers, Powerball officials said. The winning numbers were: 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and a Powerball of 34.

The jackpot was estimated at 425.3 million dollars (£255.4 million), with a cash payout option of 242.2 million dollars (£145.4 million). It is one of the largest lottery jackpots in US history - but still far from the record.

A ticket for America's second-largest lottery prize ever was also purchased in the San Francisco Bay area. In December, two winning tickets were purchased in San Jose, California, and Atlanta, for a 636 million dollar (£381 million) Mega Millions prize.

The nation's biggest lottery prize was a 656 million dollar (£393 million) Mega Millions jackpot in 2012. The biggest Powerball jackpot was 590.5 million dollars (£354 million) last May.

Wednesday's draw also saw 17 tickets match enough numbers to win one million dollars, and one ticket won a two million dollar (£1.2 million) prize, according to a statement from Rose J Hudson, chairwoman of the Powerball Game Group and president of the Louisiana Lottery.

Changes to top lottery games have created bigger jackpots in shorter periods of time. More than half of the top 10 prizes in US lottery history have occurred since 2012, according to statistics provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Powerball's game changes in January 2012 included an increase in ticket price from one dollar (60p) to two dollars (£1.20). Starting jackpots went from 20 million dollars (£12 million) to 40 million dollars (£24 million), and pots increased by more money with each roll. Mega Millions also went through a revamp that included decreasing the odds of winning the top prize to one in about 259 million.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. The odds of matching all six numbers in the game are one in about 175 million.

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