ATLANTA (Reuters) – Three lucky ticket-holders in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland will share the largest lottery jackpot in US history of $656 million, after about 1.5 billion $1 tickets were sold, lottery officials said yesterday.
At least two of the winners’ tickets were “quick picks” – meaning all six numbers of the Mega Millions lottery computer picked the winning numbers announced at the drawing Friday night in Atlanta: 2-4-23-38-46 and Mega Ball 23.
Lottery officials said the lucky tickets were purchased at a 7-Eleven store in Milford Mill, Maryland, near Baltimore, and the Motomart convenience store in the southern Illinois farming town of Red Bud. Kansas has not released details yet of the winning ticket.
A pre-dawn call alerted Motomart manager Denise Metzger to news from lottery officials that a winning ticket was sold at her store in the tiny farming community of Red Bud, with less than 4,000 residents, about 30 miles southeast of St. Louis.
“I screamed, I woke my husband up,” said Metzger, whose retail outlet will receive $500,000 for selling a winning ticket.
Residents swarmed the store within hours of the announcement to check their tickets, although no winner has yet emerged, she said.
“I think everyone in town has been here already,” she joked.
Though the winner – who has not yet contacted Illinois lottery officials – may want to remain anonymous, in Illinois the state is required to eventually list his or her identity in public records.
Winners could receive either a one-time payment of their share or take it in 26 annual installment payments.
The three tickets were worth more than $213 million before taxes, if the payout was over 26 years. If taken in a lump sum, the windfall would be about $105.1 million, officials said.
“Each of the winners gets $105.1 million in cash after taxes roughly, but who cares about pennies at this point?” said Carole Everett, spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery.