California Lottery Announces Powerball Winner

by
Reuters
At least one unidentified person in California won the massive $1.59-billion Powerball lottery on Wednesday.

Powerball number, lottary

* Winning ticket sold in east LA suburb Chino Hills - officials

* World's largest potential prize for a single winner

* Identity of winner or winners not known

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 at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Chino Hills, a suburb east of Los Angeles, California Lottery officials said. No other states have reported selling a winning ticket for the $1.586-billion prize.

Crowds descended on the store after word emerged where the winning ticket had been bought, to snap pictures and congratulate the clerk. The store will receive a $1-million bonus for selling the ticket.

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.

The payout is worth about $930 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual payments over 29 years, the Multi-State Lottery Association says. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories.

The odds of picking a winning combination were 1 in 292 million.

The prospect of becoming North America's newest billionaire sparked a ticket-buying frenzy that 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, told 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 worth of Powerball tickets has been sold, he added.

The prospect of becoming an instant billionaire spurred ticket-buyers to imagine an affluent future.

"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.

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.

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