Tennessee couple claim share of $2.3b lottery prize

Mr Balbir Atwal, owner of the California 7-Eleven outlet that sold one of the three Powerball winning tickets, holding up a symbolic cheque for US$1 million - his prize from the California State Lottery for selling a jackpot-winning ticket.
Mr Balbir Atwal, owner of the California 7-Eleven outlet that sold one of the three Powerball winning tickets, holding up a symbolic cheque for US$1 million - his prize from the California State Lottery for selling a jackpot-winning ticket.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

They say on TV show that they hold one of 3 winning tickets; other winners yet to step out

WASHINGTON • A Tennessee couple came forward yesterday with what they said was one of the three winning tickets for this week's record United States Powerball lottery jackpot, appearing with their lawyer on NBC's Today programme.

Mr John Robinson and his wife Lisa, from Munford in Tennessee, revealed on the TV show that they held a winning ticket to claim their share of the US$1.6 billion (S$2.3 billion) Powerball prize.

NBC said the ticket had not yet been officially verified, but the couple said they planned to take it to lottery officials immediately after the show.

The Robinsons said they had reached out to NBC on the advice of their lawyer, Mr Joe Townsend. "The American public wants to hear from them," the lawyer said.

Although the couple wants to return to their private lives afterwards, "they want to... let the public know that they're the winners".

Mr Robinson said that although he was unwell, he bought the ticket at a local grocery store at the request of his wife on Wednesday night, just hours before the draw.

He said they were excited about their winnings but were "a little scared" about their future. "Now I'll be nervous because everybody knows," he said.

His wife said they had not had any time to think about what they would do with their share of the jackpot prize, but that she planned to return to work on Monday.

"We were up all night," she told the broadcast network. "We didn't get enough sleep."

The holders of the two other winning tickets of Wednesday night's draw - which were sold in California and Florida - have not yet come forward.

Under the rules, a winner has up to a year to do so. All three states with winners have laws requiring their names to be released to the public, according to the Powerball website.

Each of the winning tickets is worth US$528.8 million to the holders, lottery officials said in California, one of 44 states plus Washington, DC, and two US territories that sold millions of Powerball tickets.

The winning numbers of 08, 27, 34, 04, 19 and Powerball 10, picked in a draw on Wednesday night, appeared on tickets sold at three retailers: a 7-Eleven store in Chino Hills, California; a Publix supermarket in Melbourne Beach, Florida; and Naifeh's Food Mart in Munford, Tennessee.

The jackpot winners overcame odds of one in 292 million. It was the largest lottery prize offered in North America and no other lottery in the world had ever featured a jackpot of that size that could be won on a single ticket.

The announcement of the lottery winners came after the previous 19 draws produced no jackpot winners, and the grand prize rolled over each time.

To receive the full jackpot amount, winners must accept a multi-year annuity, whereas the lump-sum cash payout for the jackpot was about US$983.5 million, lottery officials said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2016, with the headline 'Tennessee couple claim share of $2.3b lottery prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe