MILWAUKEE (REUTERS) - Only one ticket matched all six numbers in the US Mega Millions lottery for a jackpot of $1.537 billion (S$2.1 billion), just short of a world record, an official said on Wednesday (Oct 24).
The ticket was sold in Simpsonville, South Carolina, at KC Mart convenience store, the city’s Mayor Janice Curtis said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
The town of 22,000, about 14 miles from Grenville, was abuzz as people clamoured to learn more about the winner, but in South Carolina, the person who hit the jackpot can opt to remain anonymous.
The buyer of the ticket beat the odds of 1 in 303 million to win the Mega Millions drawing for one of the largest jackpots in US history.
The jaw-dropping jackpot failed to break the record for lottery winnings, held by the $1.586 billion Powerball prize in January 2016.
Before the drawing, lottery officials had been reporting an expected record-breaking US$1.6 billion jackpot, based on estimates tied to historical patterns, lottery spokeswoman Carole Bober Gentry said on Wednesday. After the drawing, lottery officials rolled back the jackpot total to US$1.537 billion, based on actual ticket sales.
“There are few precedents for a jackpot this size. Typically, about 70 per cent of sales occur on the drawing day, so forecasting precise numbers in advance can be difficult,” Ms Gentry said in a statement.
For the winner, options include an immediate cash payment of US$877.8 million, or the US$1.537 billion prize paid out over 29 years.
There were 36 second-tier winners, those who picked five winning numbers but did not match the Mega Ball. Most were rewarded with a US$1 million prize, but two of them – in Florida and Texas – added a Megaplier option, tripling their winnings to US$3 million.
Across the game’s nine prize tiers, there were more than 15.7 million winning tickets in Tuesday’s drawing.
In the four days leading up to the drawing, about 370 million of the US$2 Mega Millions tickets were sold in 44 US states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Sales reached nearly US$740 million during that time, lottery officials said.
Several states allow online ticket purchases, but they prohibit out-of-state and foreign purchases.