After millions tuned in to see the draw live

California ticket-holder hits $1.6bn lottery jackpot

GMT 07:21 2016 Thursday ,14 January

Arab Today, arab today California ticket-holder hits $1.6bn lottery jackpot

People line up to buy California Powerball lottery tickets at the famous Bluebird Liquor store
Los Angeles - Arab Today

A lucky California ticket-holder hit the jackpot in the nearly $1.6 billion lottery bonanza in the United States on Wednesday, officials said, after millions tuned in to see the draw live on television.

The winning numbers were 8, 27, 34, 4 and 19, with a Powerball number 10, as lottery fever gripped the country, but there may also have been other jackpot winners in other states.

"We have a winner in California! A jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Chino Hills. We’re still awaiting results from other states," California Lottery tweeted.

The jackpot, which had stood at $1.5 billion -- a world record in the lottery industry -- for much of the day, eventually crept up to nearly $1.6 billion, ABC News said.

The winner can choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual installments for 29 years or take a one-off payment, after tax.

The odds of winning were at least one in 292 million.
Despite that, shops all over the United States did a roaring trade in frenzied last-minute ticket sales in the final hours before the live draw.

Office workers dashed out between meetings to buy tickets, fantasizing about what they would do with the winnings, and commuters joked about scooping the jackpot to save them from the deep freeze of winter.

For days, the talk of the nation, from coast to coast, and even from Canada to Mexico, was: will someone finally win the first Powerball in two months and, if you were to win, how would you spend such a whopping jackpot?

"I'm not a regular, but why not? Like the commercial says, 'Hey, you never know,'" said Nick Friedberg, a carpenter and father of two drinking coffee on a bitterly cold street in Manhattan.

"Non-stop, everyone's talking about it," he said, running through a list of things he would like to buy. "Do the world, that's for sure.

"I'd love to go to Europe, never been. There are a lot of stuff over there I'd like to see, Italy and all that history. I like all that stuff," he told AFP.

- Record sales -

The winning numbers in $1.6 billion US lottery were 8, 27, 34, 4 and 19, with a Powerball number 10
© AFP Mark Ralston

Lottery executives say ticket sales reached record levels, generating more than $1 million an hour in Texas alone in the final build-up to the draw.

Wednesday's jackpot started at $40 million on November 7 and was the result of 20 draws with no overall winner.

"Sales are doing exponentially more than we've ever done before," Gary Grief, chair of the Powerball game group, told AFP on Tuesday.

"I'm hearing anecdotally and through news outlets, millions of people who have never played Powerball before are indeed purchasing a ticket."

It was a bonanza of sorts for retailers too, particularly those in US states bordering the handful that do not participate in the game.

The lottery had anticipated that 85 percent of all possible combinations would be wagered on so there was an 85 percent likelihood of a jackpot winner on Wednesday night.

The previous US jackpot record of $656 million, on March 30, 2012, was scooped up by three winners from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas.

The world's richest lottery is Spain's annual Christmas "El Gordo," which in 2015 handed out 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) but which capped individual wins at 400,000 euros and handed out thousands of smaller prizes.
Source :AFP

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