Winning lottery tickets worth hundreds of millions

Friday, January 2, 2004

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- Someone who buys lottery tickets in this Cleveland suburb is going to have a prosperous new year. Ditto for ticket buyers in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. A winning Mega Millions ticket worth $162 million was sold at a convenience store here, Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen said. It was the only ticket in the 11-state jackpot that matched all the numbers in Tuesday night's drawing. By the time lottery offices closed for the holiday late Wednesday, no one had claimed the prize. Lottery offices also were closed Thursday in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, where two winning tickets were sold in Wednesday night's drawing for a $221.5 million Powerball lottery prize.

The winning Powerball ticket in South Carolina was sold at Coit McCarter's Clover Shop and Save store in Clover, a small town near the North Carolina line. McCarter said he isn't sure the four-leaf clover that replaces the "o" in Clover in his store's name makes the store lucky, "but you like to feel it does."

Along with the big prize ticket, McCarter's sold a ticket worth $5,000 in Wednesday's drawing. About three months ago, one of his customers bought a ticket worth $300,000.

No visited the store Thursday morning to show off the winning ticket, McCarter said. The winner will have to wait until lottery offices reopen Friday to claim the prize, said spokeswoman Tara Robertson.

"First thing tomorrow morning, we'll be glad to give them everything they ever wanted," Robertson said.

The winning Powerball tickets matched the numbers five, seven, 18, 28 and 35. The Powerball number was 1.

Pennsylvania's winning Powerball ticket was sold in York County, about 80 miles west of Philadelphia, said Steve Kniley, spokesman for the state Revenue Department.

"The experience with this is that it will be days, if not weeks, before a winner is announced," Kniley said. "We advise people to take their time and consult with financial advisers before coming forward."

Mega Millions is played in 11 states. Powerball is played in 24 states and Washington, D.C.

When redeeming the Mega Millions ticket, the eventual winner or winners may choose between an immediate cash payout of $95 million before taxes or $162 million over 26 years, Cohen said Wednesday. The lump-sum payment would be about $67.9 million after taxes, she said.

For the Powerball winners, each ticket is worth $110.75 million over 30 years or a onetime payment of $60.1 million before taxes.

The biggest single-ticket winner in the world is Jack Whittaker Jr. of West Virginia. He won a $314.9 million jackpot in Powerball in December 2002.

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