Herbert Johnson, 28, of Colton, fills out his MEGA Millions lotto tickets at the AmPm in San Bernardino on Friday, March 30, 2012. The store sold a five of five numbers winning ticket on March 27's MEGA Millions lottery drawing. (Rachel Luna / Staff Photographer)
Three lottery tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland hit the world record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, lottery officials said Saturday.
No tickets purchased in California had all six numbers to win the jackpot Friday, said Russ Lopez, a California Lottery spokesman.
But 29 tickets sold in the state had five of the six numbers and were likely to pay in the high six figures, Lopez said.
Illinois' winning ticket was bought at a convenience store in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis, and the winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang said.
"This is very exciting, people are extremely happy, and of course everybody wants to know who it is,
Denise Metzger, manager of the Motomart where the winning ticket was sold, said Saturday morning. "Hopefully I sold that ticket to someone who comes in every single morning."
In Maryland, television cameras were descending on the 7-Eleven in Baltimore County where the state's winning ticket was purchased. The harried manager could only repeatedly say "No interviews" to the reporters pressing for details, and customers pushed through the media crush for their morning coffee on Saturday.
The store will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which was purchased Friday night. The third winning ticket was purchased in northeast Kansas, but no other information would be released by the Kansas Lottery until the winner comes forward, spokeswoman Cara S. Sloan-Ramos said in an email.
No information has been released yet about the winners in Maryland and Illinois. Each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes, Lang said. The winning numbers in Friday night's drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23. Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett said the last time a ticket from the state won a major national jackpot was in 2008, when a ticket sold for $24 million.
"We're thrilled," she said. "We're due and excited."
The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.
Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes. From coast to coast, people stood in line at retail stores Friday for one last chance at striking it rich.
Maribeth Ptak, 31, of Milwaukee, said she only buys Mega Millions tickets when the jackpot is really big and she bought one Friday at a Milwaukee grocery store. She said she'd use the money to pay off bills, including school loans, and then she'd donate a good portion to charity.
"I know the odds are really not in my favor, but why not," she said.
Sawnya Castro, 31, of Dallas, bought $50 worth of tickets at a 7-Eleven. She figured she'd use the money to create a rescue society for Great Danes, fix up her grandmother's house, and perhaps even buy a bigger one for herself.
"Not too big -- I don't want that. Too much house to keep with," she said. Willie Richards, who works for the U.S. Marshals Service at a federal courthouse in Atlanta, figured if there ever was a time to confront astronomical odds, it was when $640 million was at stake. He bought five tickets.
"When it gets as big as it is now, you'd be nuts not to play," he said. "You have to take a chance on Lady Luck."
Friday night saw the draw for the biggest lottery
jackpot in world history as Americans bought 400million Mega Millions tickets in just 48 hours in the hope of landing the $640million prize.
It is not yet clear whether anyone managed to win the jackpot - but it is likely that someone did, as the nation was expected to spend $1.5billion on tickets ahead of the draw.
It could be you: After a 48 hour buying frenzy, which saw 400million tickets sold, the Mega Millions jackpot reached $640m
The winning numbers were 46, 23, 38, 4 and 2, while the Mega ball was 23.
Feeling lucky? A woman looks at her Mega Millions lottery ticket bought at a convenience store on the east side of Manhattan
Desperate to win: Thousands stand in line for tickets at Primm Valley Casiono Resorts Lotto store between California and Nevada on Friday
Optimistic? Two women celebrate as they reach the end of a three-hour line for tickets in Hawthorne, California
Feeling lucky: Victoria Vazquez displays $280 worth of Mega Millions lottery tickets for her office pool that she purchased at Liquorland in Covina, California
Beaver Dam service station in Arizona, the nearest to the border with Utah has reported lines out the door for three days solid. Store clerk Lisa Lorton says it's crazy with lines out the door and it's been that way for three days.
Still, the odds are long. In fact, the average American is more likely to be killed in a mass murder than win the jackpot. Fifty three times more likely, in fact. Dying in an avalanche sometime in the next decade is 160 times more likely than winning.
And one American who didn't join the rush is Barack Obama, who was not planning to buy a ticket - perhaps a sign he is confident of still having a job after this November's election.
WHAT COULD YOU BUY WITH $540M?
Five Boeing 767 private jets
225 Bugatti Veyrons, the world's most expensive car
500 years of Tim Tebow at his current salary
2,700 tickets into space on Virgin Galactic
New York's most expensive $88m apartment - and another five properties of the same cost
The New Jersey Nets basketball team
82 years in the Presidential suite at New York's Four Seasons hotel
When asked by reporters whether the President planned to chance his arm in the record jackpot, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that he was not - though he added: 'I'm going to run out and buy one.'
Mr Obama's abstention from the Mega Millions rush is perhaps unsurprising, given that he has previously described the lottery as a 'regressive tax'.
When he was an Illinois state senator, Mr Obama argued that the lottery was disproportionately played by poorer people who might not be able to afford the habit.
He concluded: 'The fact that the state systematically targets what we know to be lower-income persons as a way of of raising revenue is troublesome.'
Perhaps making up for the president's potential loss, singer Nick Jonas and latest headlining star of the Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying played his own hand in seeing how lucky one guy can get.
Seen on the streets of Manhattan, Nick stood patiently in line like the rest of New York waiting to get in on the game.
Unfortunately, not all Americans had a chance of winning the biggest jackpot in history as Mega Millions is only played in 42 states.
However residents in other non-playing states can purchase tickets in the states they are sold in as there is no residency requirement to play and win.
Record jackpot : Clerk Abdulwali Mohamed Osaim sells Mega Millions lottery tickets at a convenience store on the east side of Manhattan
Get any luckier? Singer Nick Jonas also got in on the action while caught purchasing some tickets in Manhattan
Even non U.S. citizens can play, but the tax they would have to pay on winnings is different.
At 173-million-to-one, the odds of scoring the largest lottery win in US history are so long they're literally unfathomable. And mathematicians say there's no way to improve them -- except by buying more tickets.
In theory, with such a massive jackpot would be possible to 'invest' $173 million to play every number combination and then rake in $560 million in winnings.
That is, at $1 a ticket, and 173 million possible combinations, you could play every number and increase the odds of winning to 100 percent and rake in more than 320 percent profit. (Though, that begs the question: 'If you've got $173 million laying around, why are you playing the lottery?')
Fingers crossed: People wait in line to buy tickets for the Mega Million US lottery with a record jackpot in downtown Washington, DC
More than half a billion: Tom Killie fills out his numbers for Mega Millions lottery tickets at a convenience store in New York
# IF I WONTHE MEGA MILLIONS: TWEETERS' PLANS FOR FORTUNE
'My mom would never have to work a day in her life again'
'I'd hire Morgan Freeman to read me bedtime stories every night'
'I'd buy a giant freezer and all the bacon in the world'
'INSTANTLY hire security!!!!'
'I would vanish'
Not so fast, says Forbes.com. Even picking the winning numbers - and with 620 million tickets sold, odds are good that somebody did - there's only a 3 per cent chance there is only one winning ticket.
Most likely, any lucky winner is going to have to split the jackpot with some other lucky people who happened to play tickets with the same numbers, as well.
Then factor in taxes, 25 percent at the federal level alone, and that $175 million 'investment' looks a lot less attractive.
There's also the theory that playing certain numbers can help increase the odds of winning.
A lot of lottery players are superstitious - buying tickets with birthdays or other significant numbers.
But Matthew Vea, a computer programmer who developed a computer analysis to track Mega Millions winning numbers since 2005, said he has found no pattern - though higher numbers tend to be picked more often.
The Mega Millions lottery is designed to select five balls with numbers 1 through 56 and a sixth ball numbered 1 to 46 at random.
That means, at least in theory, no number combination is more likely to be selected than any other.
However, numbers 48 and 36 have appeared more than any others - about 11 percent of the time.
A ticket for the Mega Million US lottery with a record jackpot of $540 million is sold in Washington DC
Life of luxury: The $1.46 billion that Americans spent on Mega Millions lottery tickets could buy: 26 trips to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft; more than 2.9 million new iPads at the starting price of $499; 12,000 Maserati GranTurismo sports cars; gasoline for 685,000 American households for a year; or a 73 percent share of the Los Angeles Dodgers, based on the $2 billion Magic Johnson and other investors agreed to pay for the baseball franchise
'As long you don't repeat the same set of numbers, your chances of winning are proportional to the number of tickets you buy,' Michael Shackleford, a mathematician and actuary who focuses on gambling, told ABC News.
Meanwhile, for potential lottery winners who are interviewing for jobs, employment experts warn not to get caught up in that tricky 'what would you do if you won the lottery' question.
Joyce Lain Kennedy, the author of 'Job Interviews for Dummies' told the Today Show it's best to answer something like: 'While you’d be thrilled to win the lottery, you’d still seek out fulfilling work because working, meeting challenges and scoring accomplishments are what make most people happy, including you.'
Other experts say honest is best - just not too honest.
Patricia Siderius, the director of executive outplacement services at BPI group, told the Today Show said a realistic answer would acknowledge the obvious without being crass.
'I would need time to understand how this fortune will or will not change my life,' Siderius said.
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU HIT THE MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT
With a half-billion-dollar multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, plenty of folks are fantasizing about how to spend the money. But doing it the right way - protecting your riches, your identity and your sanity - takes some thought and planning.
Making sure you don't blow the nation's largest-ever lottery jackpot within a few years means some advice is in order before the Mega Millions drawing Friday, especially if you're really, really, really lucky.
Q: What do I do with the ticket?
A: Before anything else, sign the back of the ticket. That will stop anyone else from claiming your riches if you happen to drop it while you're jumping up and down. Then make a photocopy and lock it in a safe. At the very least, keep it where you know it's protected. A Rhode Island woman who won a $336 million Powerball jackpot in February hid the ticket in her Bible before going out to breakfast.
Q: What next?
A: Relax; breathe; take time to think about your next move. Don't do anything you'll regret for the next 30 years, like calling your best friend or every one of your aunts, uncles and cousins. It doesn't take long to be overwhelmed by long-lost friends, charities and churches wanting to share your good fortune. You've waited a lifetime to hit the jackpot; you can wait a few days before going on a spending spree.
Q: So whom should I tell first?
A: Contacting a lawyer and a financial planner would be a lot wiser than updating your Facebook status. Make sure it's someone you can trust and, it's hoped, dealt with before. If you don't have anyone in mind, ask a close family member or friend. Oklahoma City attorney Richard Craig, whose firm has represented a handful of lottery winners, says it's essential to assemble a team of financial managers, tax experts, accountants and bankers.
Q: Remind me, how much did I win?
A: As it stands now, the Mega Millions will pay out a lump sum of $359 million before taxes. The annual payments over 26 years will amount to just over $19 million before taxes.
Q: How much will I pay in taxes?
A: This partly depends on where you live. Federal tax is 25 percent; then there's your state income tax. In Ohio, for example, that's another 6 percent. And you might need to pay a city tax depending on the local tax rules. So count on about a third of your winnings going to the government.
Q: Should I take the cash payout or annual payments?
A: This is the big question, and most people think taking the lump sum is the smart move. That's not always the case. First, spreading the payments out protects you from becoming the latest lottery winner who's lost all their money. Don McNay, author of the book "Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery," says nine out of 10 winners go through their money in five years or less. "It's too much, too fast," he says. "Nobody is around them putting the brakes on the situation."
Q: But what if I'm good at managing the money?
A: Invested properly, the lump sum option can be a good choice. There's more planning that you can use to reduce estate taxes and other financial incentives. Others, though, say that with annual payments, you are taxed on the money only as it comes in, so that will put you in a lower tax bracket rather than taking a big hit on getting a lump sum. And you still can shelter the money in tax-free investments and take advantage of tax law changes over the years.
Q: Should I try to shield my identity?
A: Absolutely. This will protect you from people who want you to invest in their business scheme or those who need cash in an emergency. Lottery winners are besieged by dozens of people and charities looking for help. "There are people who do that for a living. Unless you understand that, you can become a victim very quickly," says Steve Thornton, an attorney in Bowling Green, Ky., who has represented two jackpot winners.
Q: So how can I protect myself?
A: Again, it somewhat depends on where you live. In Ohio, you can form a trust to manage the money and keep your winnings a secret. In other states, you can form a trust but still be discovered through public records. And a few states require you to show up and receive your oversized check in front of a bunch of cameras, making it impossible to stay anonymous. Thornton set up a corporation in the late 1990s to protect the identity of a client in Kentucky who won $11 million. "No one had done this before, and there were legal questions about whether a corporation can win," he says. "We were able to hide their names."
Q: Is it OK to splurge a little?
A: Sure, it's why you bought a ticket, right? "Get it out of your system, but don't go overboard," McNay says. But remember that if there's a new Mercedes-Benz in the driveway, your neighbors will probably be able to figure out who won the jackpot.
Q: How much should I help my family and others?
A: It's certainly a natural desire to help relatives in need and take care of future generations. But use extreme caution when giving out your money. Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia contractor who won a nearly $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002, quickly fell victim to scandals, lawsuits and personal setbacks. His foundation spent $23 million building two churches, and he's been involved in hundreds of legal actions. "If you win, just don't give any money away, because the more money you give away, the more they want you to give. And once you start giving it away, everybody will label you an easy touch and be right there after you. And that includes everybody," Whittaker said five years ago.
RICH: TOP WINNERS BY LUMP SUM & JACKPOT
$177,270,519.67 - $365 million Powerball jackpot
ConAgra Foods Coworkers of Nebraska, 2006
Some of the winning eight co-workers at a food plant in Nebraska said they had pooled whatever money they could afford for years to play the lottery, before it finally paid off. Then most of them, without specific plans on what to do in celebration, only aimed to enjoy a leisurely life: paying bills, getting some sleep and even working their jobs until a new employee could be found in replacement. A year later, Mike Terpstra, a former graveyard-shift sanitation supervisor admits, ‘The most extravagant thing I've done is I've started to play golf. I'm pretty practical.’ Though a former-co-worker of his, a little different in his purchases, now basks on a privately owned 160-acre deer hunting and bass-fishing retreat named ‘Easy Acres.’ ‘This is paradise right here,’ winner Eric Zornes says at his new escape.
$164,410,058.03 - $340 million Powerball jackpot
Chaney & West Families of Oregon, 2005
Since winning their record-breaking jackpot, Steve and Carolyn West alongside Francis Chaney have established the Robert & Frances Chaney Family Foundation for poor children and families in Southern Oregon. ‘We’d been in some of those situations ourselves before the lottery,’ Carolyn West says, recalling struggles after her husband lost his job and their daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. ‘We just want to give back. We don’t expect anything in return,’ she says.
$151,664,457.51 - $254 million Powerball jackpot
The Putnam Ave. Family Trust of Connecticut, 2011
Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, all of Greenwich, Connecticut - one of America's wealthiest towns - showed themselves at a press conference, but weren't saying much about the win.The jackpot was the largest ever won in Connecticut and the 12th biggest in Powerball history. The largest previous lottery jackpot in Connecticut was $59.5 million in June 2005.
$145,985,099.64 - $314.3 million Powerball jackpot
Coterel & Hiles Family of Indiana, 2007
David Coterel, a retired father who purchased $20 worth of Powerball tickets in a split-second decision claimed the 8th largest jackpot in the world. Alongside his two grown children, he vowed to split the amount in thirds as the sibling duo looked forward to quitting their jobs and Mr Coterel - a General Motors retiree – said he looked forward to watching his children live out their dreams. The Indiana family looked forward to a simple life, though, admitting, with a few new extra vehicles.
$143.5million - $336.4million Powerball jackpot
Louise White of Newport, Rhode Island, 2012
White, an 81-year-old grandmother, bought the ticket on a whim when out buying rainbow sherbet at a convenience store. She lives with her grown son and his wife. 'I want to say that I’m very happy and I’m very proud, and this will make my family very happy,' she said at the time. Her lump sum was $210 million before taxes, minus $52.5 million in federal taxes and more than $14 million to the state.
$139,421,731.44 - $276 Million Powerball
Monongalia County Tax Office 8 of West Virginia, 2008
Eight female employees of a sheriff tax office embraced their win and each other while looking forward to shoe shopping and celebrating. 'We're ordinary people, just like everybody else in West Virginia. We've dreamt of winning the Powerball, and you dream of what you want to do for your family and friends,' the group's designated spokesperson chief tax deputy Linda Fominko said for the group.
A world-record $640 million Mega Millions jackpot has lottery players lining up for tickets early Friday and many wondering if there's any way to guarantee becoming an overnight multimillionaire.
The answer: Not unless you already are one and own a magic wand.
The jackpot is so large, someone could theoretically buy up every possible number combination, thereby guaranteeing a winning ticket – but doing so would mean putting up millions of dollars on the front end.
A $540 million jackpot, if taken as a $390 million lump sum and after federal tax withholding, works out to about $293 million. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $117 million – less if your state also withholds taxes.
But limitations abound. First, if it takes five seconds to fill out each card, you'd need almost 28 years just to mark the bubbles on the game tickets. You'd also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.
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