If you’re the lucky, sole winner of the $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot, congratulations! Now, go hide.
On Wednesday night, one ticket sold in California matched all six numbers to win the third largest Powerball jackpot and sixth largest U.S lottery jackpot ever. The jackpot eluded players for three months before it was finally hit in the 39th drawing of the jackpot run, Powerball said. The winning numbers were white balls 7, 10, 11, 13, 24 and red Powerball 24.
The lucky ticket holder will have the choice between an annuitized prize of $1.08 billion or a lump sum cash payment of $558.1 million. Whichever you choose, you should know claiming that much money likely also will draw taxes, grifters, and friends and family members, advisers say. So, the first and most important piece of financial advice likely is what you should not do if you hold the winning ticket.
What do you do if you win Powerball?
The winner will get to pick either a lump sum payment of $558.1 million or an annuity for the $1.08 billion. Both figures are before taxes. Late ticket sales propelled the jackpot past its earlier estimate of $1 billion.
Whoever the winner is, Becker advised them to sign the back of the ticket and put it in a safe place.
“If you discover you’re hanging onto a piece of paper like that, a winning ticket, particularly worth this kind of money, you’re going to want to keep it in the most safe place possible,” she said. “The winning Powerball ticket is the key to claiming that prize.”
The store, located in central Los Angeles, is just steps away from the Skid Row neighbourhood, which has a large number of homeless people.
Powerball said final ticket sales pushed the jackpot beyond its earlier estimate of $1bn to $1.08bn at the time of the draw.
“This has turned into a historic jackpot run; this is only the third time in Powerball’s 31-year history that a jackpot has reached the billion-dollar threshold,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball product group chair and Pennsylvania Lottery executive director.
No one had won the Powerball or its competing lottery, Mega Millions, since April. Both prizes rose to some of their highest amounts ever in recent weeks. A Mega Millions draw for $720m is due on Friday.
The last time someone won the Powerball jackpot before Wednesday’s draw was on 19 April for a top prize of nearly $253m.
Powerball holds the current world record for the largest national lottery jackpot.
A record prize was won in November by California resident Edwin Castro, who was the sole winner of the $2.05bn prize, according to the Guinness World Records. In May, a fellow Californian sued Mr Castro, claiming the lucky ticket was stolen from him. The California Lottery has maintained that it is confident Mr Castro is the rightful winner.
“The lottery has raised nearly $80 million dollars for public schools just from this one game,” said California Lottery spokesperson Carolyn Becker.
In addition to Wednesday’s big winner, 36 tickets sold across 16 states matched all five white balls to win what in most states will be $1 million prizes, according to a Powerball news release. Seven of those tickets were sold in California, where the prizes will be $448,750, according to California’s lottery site. Non-jackpot prizes in California vary depending on number of winners and ticket sales, and so will differ from fixed prizes shown on Powerball’s site.
Before Wednesday’s win, there had been 38 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner since Powerball’s April 19 drawing, when a ticket in Ohio matched all six numbers to win a grand prize worth $252.6 million.
“Congratulations to our newest Powerball jackpot winner and the California Lottery!” said Drew Svitko, Powerball Product Group Chair and Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director. “For more than 30 years, Powerball has brought people together to dream big and win big, and in doing so, has raised billions of dollars for good causes supported by lotteries.”
Last year, a lone winning ticket – also in California – won the record $2.04 billion Powerball lottery jackpot. As a result, the owner of the gas station that sold the winning ticket became a millionaire himself.
For those who didn’t become instant millionaires on Wednesday, there may still be hope: the Mega Millions drawing. Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is worth an estimated annuitized value $720 million, with a cash value of $369.6 million.
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