CHICOPEE, Mass. – Powerball will pay out the largest single jackpot ever in North America.
A winning ticket for Wednesday’s $758.7 million grand prize was sold at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
The winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and the Powerball was 4.
A 53-year-old woman from Chicoppee came forward Thursday. She said she selected the winning numbers based on birthdays and her friends’ favorite number 4. She decided to retire immediately.
The winner told a room of reporters that she found out about her winning ticket after her coworker told her to check the numbers. To her surprise her ticket was the grand prize winner. Her coworker told her to sign her ticket immediately and escorted her home.
The Massachusetts Lottery revealed the identity of the owner of the winning ticket at 10 a.m. PT. The owner of the store that sold the ticket, Bob Bolduc, told reporters that the winning ticket was bought at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Bolduc said that he plans to donate the $50,000 commission he’ll collect for selling a jackpot winner, to local charities with a primary focus on education and children.
Lottery officials initially reported that the winning ticket was sold at a different store in Watertown, Massachusetts, due to a transcription error by lottery staff early Thursday morning. The Watertown store sold another winning ticket worth $1 million, which had all five numbers except the Powerball correct.
Whoever has the winning ticket won’t get their hands on the full jackpot — lottery winnings are taxed like income.
The IRS taxes the top income bracket 39.6%. The government will withhold 25% of that before the money ever gets to the winner, and the rest has to be paid at tax time.
The top prize of $758.7 million only goes to the winner if he or she chooses to take the loot in 30 annual payments. But nearly everyone takes the lump sum payment, which came to $480.5 million.
It’s not just the one jackpot winner who will cash in. There are 40 ticket holders who won $1 million or more by getting five numbers correct — without the Powerball. Secondary prizes can be as little as $4 for a ticket that only got the Powerball number correct. A total of $135 million in prize money will go to 9.4 million other ticket buyers who didn’t win the jackpot. But history suggests many of those buyers likely do not realize they won the smaller prizes and will never claim their winnings.
Two other Powerball jackpots have passed the $400 million mark so far in 2017. A $448 million prize was claimed in June, and a $435 million jackpot was won in February. Mega Millions had a $393 jackpot winner on Aug. 11.
The only prize that’s ever topped the $1 billion mark was claimed in January 2016 — a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot that grew over several months and was split three ways. That jackpot’s winning tickets were sold in Tennessee, California and Florida.
Both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are available in all but six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.
The odds have always been long for landing a Powerball jackpot. But it became even more difficult recently — thanks to a rule change in October 2015 that tweaked the odds.
Chances of picking all six winning numbers currently stand at about one in 292 million.
That means you are actually more likely to be killed by an asteroid (1 in 700,000), be struck by lightning while drowning (1 in 183 million) or give birth to quadruplets (1 in 729,000).