US Powerball lottery win worth $480 million
The lone winning ticket for the US$425 million (NZ$513 million) Powerball jackpot was sold at a convenience store in Northern California, but there was no immediate word on who may have won one of the largest lottery jackpots in US history.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night (local time) were: 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and a Powerball of 34.
California lottery officials said the ticket was sold at Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, a city north of San Jose. The business will receive US$1 million for selling the winning ticket.
Rajwinder Singh, an employee at the Chevron store, said late Wednesday that he believed he was probably the person who sold the winning ticket.
"I've been here working from 8am to 8pm," he told The Associated Press. "I hope I'll find out soon."
Early Thursday morning, the scene was quiet with just few customers at the 24-hour store and gas station just off Interstate 880, a region of corporate offices in the Silicon Valley area.
The ticket was the only one to match all the winning numbers, Powerball officials said late Wednesday.
The jackpot was estimated at US$425.3 million, with a cash payout option of US$242.2 million. It's one of the largest lottery jackpots in US history - but still far from the record.
A ticket for America's second-largest lottery prize ever was also purchased in the in the San Francisco Bay Area. In December, two winning tickets were purchased in San Jose, Calif., and Atlanta, for a US$636 million Mega Millions prize.
The nation's biggest lottery prize was a US$656 million dollar Mega Millions jackpot in 2012. The biggest Powerball jackpot was a US$590.5 million last May.
Wednesday's drawing also saw 17 tickets match enough numbers to win US$1 million, and one ticket won a US$2 million prize, according to a statement from Rose J Hudson, chair of the Powerball Game Group and president of the Louisiana Lottery.
Changes to top lottery games have created bigger jackpots in shorter periods of time. More than half of the top 10 prizes in US lottery history have occurred since 2012, according to statistics provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Powerball's game changes in January 2012 included an increase in ticket price from $1 to $2. Starting jackpots went from US$20 million to US$40 million, and pots increased by more money with each roll. Mega Millions also went through a revamp that included decreasing the odds of winning the top prize to 1 in about 259 million.
Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, DC, and the USVirgin Islands. The odds of matching all six numbers in the game are 1 in about 175 million.