California lottery says it has a winner in $1.6-bn Powerball jackpot

  • Reuters, Los Angeles
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2016 18:37 IST
The winning Powerball number is shown after being drawn at the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee, Florida. (REUTERS)

At least one unidentified person in California won the massive $1.59 billion Powerball lottery on Wednesday, officials said after drawing the winning numbers for the world’s largest potential jackpot for a single player.

The winning ticket was sold in Chino Hills, a suburb east of Los Angeles, California Lottery officials said. About one hour after the drawing, no other states had reported that they sold a winning ticket for the $1.586 billion prize.

The six winning numbers were 08 27 34 04 19 and Powerball 10. They were picked during a late Wednesday drawing at lottery offices in Tallahassee, Florida.

Watch | Record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot and its winner

The payout is worth about $930 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual payments over 29 years, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and two US territories.

Odds of picking a winning combination were 1 in 292 million.

Tania Blazer holds up her California Powerball lottery tickets at the famous Bluebird Liquor store which is considered to be a lucky retailer of tickets. (AFP)

The prospect of becoming North America’s newest billionaire sparked a ticket-buying frenzy, which was expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during the evening commuter rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, said at a news conference.

Powerball sales were “exponentially higher” than normal, Grief said. Since the jackpot was last hit on Nov. 4, 2015, a total of $2.65 billion in Powerball tickets have been sold, Grief said.

“If I win, I’ll give it all away to poor people,” said New York restaurant deliveryman Osman Gamie, 43, after buying a dozen of the $2 tickets at a midtown Manhattan grocery.

For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, 50% goes to prizes, 40% to causes such as education, and 10% to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said.

Steve Poulin sells Powerball tickets at the Sunnybrook Tavern and Liquor Store. (AP)

“It’s amazing; it’s crazy,” said Milwaukee Wal-Mart worker Juan Galindo, 41, who sought to pump up his luck by purchasing tickets at three different locations in Wisconsin.

Tatiann Cave, a 23-year-old home health aide, said she would use the jackpot to start her own cosmetics business.

“I’d like to quit my job and do something inspiring,” Cave said.

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