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California lottery says it has a winner in $1.6 bln Powerball jackpot

Thursday, January 14, 2016, 12:11 GMT+7

LOS ANGELES, Jan 13 -- At least one unidentified person in California won the massive $1.59 billion Powerball lottery on Wednesday, officials said after drawing the winning numbers for the world's largest potential jackpot for a single player. The winning ticket was sold in Chino Hills, a suburb east of Los Angeles, California Lottery officials said. About one hour after the drawing, no other states had reported that they sold a winning ticket for the $1.586 billion prize. The six winning numbers were 08 27 34 04 19 and Powerball 10. They were picked during a late Wednesday drawing at lottery offices in Tallahassee, Florida. The payout is worth about $930 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual payments over 29 years, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories. Odds of picking a winning combination were 1 in 292 million. The prospect of becoming North America's newest billionaire sparked a ticket-buying frenzy, which was expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during the evening commuter rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, said at a news conference. Powerball sales were "exponentially higher" than normal, Grief said. Since the jackpot was last hit on Nov. 4, 2015, a total of $2.65 billion in Powerball tickets have been sold, Grief said. "If I win, I'll give it all away to poor people," said New York restaurant deliveryman Osman Gamie, 43, after buying a dozen of the $2 tickets at a midtown Manhattan grocery. For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, 50 percent goes to prizes, 40 percent to causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said. "It's amazing; it's crazy," said Milwaukee Wal-Mart worker Juan Galindo, 41, who sought to pump up his luck by purchasing tickets at three different locations in Wisconsin. Tatiann Cave, a 23-year-old home health aide, said she would use the jackpot to start her own cosmetics business. "I'd like to quit my job and do something inspiring," Cave said.

Reuters

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