Record US Powerball winners still unknown

  • 15/01/2016

Three ticket holders with a claim on a record US$1.6 billion (NZ$2.5 billion) Powerball jackpot are lying low, their identities officially still a mystery.

Each of the winning tickets drawn on Wednesday is worth US$528.8 million to the holders, lottery officials said in California, one of 44 states plus Washington DC and two US territories that sold millions of Powerball tickets.

The winning numbers of 8, 27, 34, 4, 19 and Powerball 10 appeared on tickets sold in three stores: a 7-Eleven convenience store in Chino Hills, California, a Publix supermarket in Melbourne Beach, Florida, and Naifeh's Food Mart in Munford, Tennessee.

The jackpot winners overcame odds of one in 292 million.

"The Chino Hills winner has not come forward yet," California Lottery said on its Twitter feed, but local media reports said the winner there was a 62-year-old nurse who received a ticket from her boss.

KABC said the winner was a senior registered nurse at Park Avenue Health Care and Wellness Centre. The nursing home owner bought 18,000 tickets for his employees and residents at 80 nursing homes across California, it reported, citing a spokesman for the owner.

Nursing home officials were not immediately available for comment.

At a media conference in front of the 7-Eleven, lottery officials presented a symbolic cheque for US$1 million to the owner of the franchise, Balbir Atwal, for selling a jackpot winning ticket.

The winners in Florida and Tennessee have not come forward, lottery officials in those states said.

With each state setting its own lottery rules, the Tennessee retailer, in a Memphis suburb, received US$25,000 and the Florida retailer, in a tiny coastal town, will get US$100,000.

The announcement of the winners came after the previous 19 drawings produced no jackpot winners. The bounty soared to a record US$1.586 billion, fuelled by what had become a national preoccupation with Powerball and the prospect of taking home untold riches.

Under the rules, a winner has up to a year to come forward. All three states with winners have laws requiring their names to be released publicly, according to the Powerball website.

To receive the full jackpot amount, winners must accept a multi-year annuity, whereas the lump-sum payout for the jackpot was about US$983.5 million, lottery officials said.

The cycle will start again on Saturday night when the next Powerball drawing will have an estimated jackpot of US$40 million.