Lottery ticket holder in Maine wins $1.35bn Mega Millions Jackpot

Organisers say the single winning ticket was sold in rural Maine.

A Mega Million sign displays the estimated jackpot of $1.35 Billion
A Mega Million sign displays the estimated jackpot of $1.35bn at the Cranberry Super Mini Mart in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, US, January 12, 2023 [Gene J Puskar/ AP]

A single lottery ticket holder in the United States has won $1.35bn in the Mega Millions jackpot.

The identity of the winner was not yet publicly known, but the jackpot’s organisers said on Saturday that the winning ticket was sold in the northeastern state of Maine.

The winning ticket, which cost $2, was bought at Hometown Gas & Grill convenience store in the town of Lebanon.

“Congratulations to the Maine State Lottery, which has just won its first-ever Mega Millions jackpot,” Ohio Lottery director Pat McDonald, lead director for the Mega Millions Consortium, said in a statement. “It’s the fourth billion-dollar jackpot in Mega Millions history.”

The lucky combination of six numbers drawn late on Friday night was: 30, 43, 45, 46, 61 and gold Mega Ball 14.

The winner overcame steep odds of 1 in 302.6 million, which led to three months of drawings without a claim on the jackpot.

“There’s quite a buzz at our small-town gas station this morning, I’ll tell you that,” said Fred Cotreau, the owner of Hometown Gas & Grill.

The first thing he did was check to see if he had bought the winning ticket, which he had not.

“Hopefully one of the residents and one of the regular customers is the winner,” Cotreau said. “It’s exciting to have sold it but it’s just more exciting for a single winner and I’m just really hoping it’s somebody here in town.”

To claim the full $1.35bn, the winner would need to take the money in an annuity with annual payments over 29 years.

Most jackpot recipients prefer the reduced but quicker cash option, which for Friday night’s drawing was an estimated $724.6m.

The jackpot had been rolling since it was last won on October 14, when a $502m prize was shared by winning tickets in California and Florida.

It is the second-largest in the 20-year history of the game, topped only by the $1.537bn won in South Carolina in October 2018.

In addition to the jackpot-winning ticket, 14 tickets matched all five numbers to win the game’s second-tier prize of $1m.

Four were sold in New York, two in California, and one each in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Half of the proceeds from the sale of each Mega Millions ticket remains in the state where the ticket was sold, where the money supports lottery beneficiaries, such as education or public employee pensions, and retailer commissions.

Cotreau, the owner of Hometown Gas & Grill, stands to receive a substantial bonus for the ticket.

“I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna call my lottery agent first thing Monday morning to find out.”

Source: News Agencies