BOSTON (AP) — A single winning ticket has been sold for the massive Powerball $758.7 million jackpot in Wednesday night’s drawing. The winning ticket was sold in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Here are some details about the game and the giant prize:
The lucky numbers from Wednesday night’s drawing are 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, and the Powerball number is 4. The Massachusetts State Lottery announced Thursday morning that the winning ticket was sold at the Pride Station & Store location in Chicopee, Massachusetts, correcting an earlier announcement that it was sold at a different store in Watertown.
The Massachusetts State Lottery had announced around 2:30 a.m. Thursday that Handy Variety in Watertown, near Boston, had sold the winning ticket.
But shortly before 8 a.m., the state lottery said it had made a mistake, and that the winning ticket was sold across the state at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, in western Massachusetts.
Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, told WBZ-AM that it was a case of nerves.
“We had a couple of excited people at 1 o’clock in the morning being a little nervous about handling this,” he said, adding that the buck stops with him.
Sweeney said the lottery had not yet heard from the winner.
He said the Chicopee store will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket. He also said that the store in Watertown did sell a ticket that won a $1 million prize.
The $758.7 million jackpot is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history, Powerball Product Group Chair Charlie McIntyre said in a statement early Thursday.
The jackpot is the second-largest U.S. lottery prize, ahead of a $656 million Mega Millions prize won by three people in 2012. But Wednesday’s big prize is still dwarfed by a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot divvied up between three winners in January 2016.
WILL THE WINNER RECEIVE ALL THAT MONEY?
The winner will certainly be rich but shouldn’t expect a $758.7 million check. That amount refers to the annuity option, doled out in 30 payments over 29 years. Most people opt for the cash option, which for Wednesday’s prize was $480.5 million. And then there are the taxes, which will eat up roughly 40 percent of the winnings.
CASH OR ANNUITY CHOICE
There are advantages to taking an annuity, but winners almost always prefer cash. In fact, 29 straight Powerball winners have opted for cash, with the last annuity option chosen in September 2014.
Cash winners likely believe they can earn a better return by investing the winnings themselves, plus it can be hard to envision payments for 29 years. The annuity choice, in which payments rise by 5 percent each year, promises a safer stream of money and slightly lower taxes.
ODDS THE WINNER OVERCAME
The Massachusetts winner overcame incredible odds of one in 292.2 million to win the jackpot. To put those odds in perspective: Cornelius Nelan, a mathematics professor at Quinnipiac University, notes that the odds are about the same as flipping a coin and getting heads 28 times in a row.
WHAT IS POWERBALL AND HOW DOES THE GAME WORK?
Powerball is played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all of which collectively oversee the game. Drawings are held twice a week. Five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls and one red ball is selected from a drum with 26 balls. Players can choose their numbers or let a computer make a random choice.
Besides the jackpot winner, there were 40 tickets that matched the five white balls, earning buyers $1 million prizes. Of those, six paid an extra $1 when they bought a ticket and doubled their prize to $2 million. Those winners were from 22 states, with two from Massachusetts, making it a remarkably lucky drawing for the state. Pennsylvania had five tickets that matched five balls to lead all other states.