LOS ANGELES –– An unprecedented $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot will be divided among three winning tickets purchased in Tennessee, California and Florida.
Each ticket is worth $528.8 million, lottery officials said in California, one of 44 states plus Washington DC and two American territories that sold millions of Powerball tickets.
The winning numbers were 08 27 34 04 19 and Powerball 10, picked in a drawing last night. The odds of having the correct numbers: one in 292 million.
There had been 20 Powerball drawings since November 4, the last time there was a winning ticket for the jackpot. This allowed the prize money to reach a record $1.586 billion.
It was the largest lottery prize ever offered in North America, and no other lottery in the world had ever featured a jackpot of that size that could be won on a single ticket.
The winners in Florida and Tennessee have not come forward, lottery officials in those states said, and officials have not said if anyone in California had claimed the prize.
One ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Chino Hills, east of Los Angeles, officials said. Two other winning tickets were sold in Munford, Tennessee, and Melbourne Beach, Florida, lottery officials in those states said.
In November, a Tennessee ticket holder claimed a $144.1 million prize.
Crowds descended on the California store that sold a winning ticket, with customers snapping pictures and congratulating the sales associate. The store will receive a $1,000,000 bonus, lottery officials said.
The prospect of becoming instantly rich sparked a ticket-buying frenzy that had been expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during yesterday evening’s rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, told a news conference.
To receive the full jackpot amount, winners must 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 per cent is earmarked for things such as education, and ten per cent goes to retailers who sell the tickets and administrative costs, Grief said.
The cycle will start again on Saturday night when the next Powerball drawing will have an estimated jackpot of $40 million, according to the lottery operator’s website.