$768M winning Powerball ticket sold in Milwaukee suburb

by Kim Boateng Posted on March 29th, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa: A single ticket that matched all six Powerball numbers to win the estimated $768.4 million jackpot — the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history — was sold in a Milwaukee suburb, Wisconsin Lottery officials said Thursday.

The ticket, worth a cash option of $477 million, was sold at a Speedway gas station in New Berlin, a city of about 40,000 people roughly 14 miles (23 kilometres) southwest of Milwaukee, lottery officials told reporters at a news conference. The winner has not come forward yet, Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said.

The gas station will receive $100,000 for selling the winning ticket. That award will come out the state general fund, not from the winnings, Wisconsin Lottery spokesman David Brauer said.

Under Wisconsin law, the winner or winners can’t remain anonymous and have 180 days to claim the prize. Otherwise the ticket is worthless.

The win comes almost exactly two years after Wisconsin hit its last Powerball jackpot, when a Milwaukee resident won $156.2 million on March 22, 2017.

Although the prize grew steadily since the previous jackpot winner on Dec. 26, the odds of matching the five white balls and single Powerball remained a dismal 1 in 292.2 million. The winning numbers were 16, 20, 37, 44 and 62. The Powerball number was 12.

The latest jackpot is the third-largest behind the world record $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January 2016, and the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in South Carolina last October.

“It’s going to be a very green spring for our first Powerball jackpot winner of 2019,” David Barden, Powerball Product Group chairman and New Mexico Lottery CEO, said in a statement. “A jackpot of this size can make many dreams come true – not just for the winner, but for all Lottery beneficiaries and the lucky state of Wisconsin.”

The $768.4 million estimated figure refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. Nearly all grand prize winners opt for the cash prize. Both prize options are before taxes.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca said at the news conference that if the winner or winners take the cash prize, the state would claim $38 million of the winnings as tax revenue. He didn’t know how much the state would receive in taxes each year if the winner or winners choose annuities.

Seven tickets matched all five white balls, but missed matching the red Powerball in Wednesday’s drawing to win a $1 million prize. Those tickets were sold in Arizona, two in California, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey and New York. Two other tickets, sold in Kansas and Minnesota, matched all five white balls and doubled the prize to $2 million, because the tickets included the Power Play option for an additional $1.

Powerball is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

How late can you play Powerball?

Sales cut off at least 59 minutes before the drawing, according to the Multi-State Lottery Commission. But cut-off times can be earlier depending on the state, so it’s best to check your state’s lottery commission. Wednesday’s drawing will take place at 10:59 p.m. ET.

Odds of winning

The odds of winning a jackpot remain abysmal at 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292.2 million for Powerball. You are 25,000 times more likely to hit a hole-in-one than you are of winning a Powerball jackpot.

Where can you play Powerball?

Powerball is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Who buys lotto tickets?

About two-thirds of Americans gamble. Last year, they spent $72.97 billion on traditional lottery tickets, according to Gallup.

On average, that’s $206.69 per person. “Our obsession with lotteries, with gambling, is that unicorn feeling of, like, ‘maybe it’ll be me,'” CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said. She points out that some people don’t necessarily play to win.

“They just want to take a moment out of their day to consider how to dream big,” Schlesinger said.

The average American spends about $223 per year on lottery tickets, according to a survey from LENDedu. Massachusetts residents have the biggest taste for playing the odds, spending almost $763 per year on lottery tickets, the study found. North Dakotans are on the opposite end of the spectrum, spending about $44 per year on the lottery, or the lowest average figure among residents of all 50 states.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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