A lucky player in Arizona, a married man in his 30s, has claimed the second winning ticket in the U.S. Powerball lottery’s near-record jackpot of $587.5 million, organizers said Friday.
The unidentified man, who said he would like to keep working, had only played the lottery twice in the past year when he got lucky with tickets bought on Nov. 28, the day of the drawing, winning him $192 million.
“He has lived in Arizona for a year. He and his wife moved from Pennsylvania,” said Arizona Lottery spokeswoman Karen Bach.
“He said that he used to play Powerball regularly in Pennsylvania, but in Arizona only played twice,” she added.
The man — who came forward after a Missouri mechanic claimed the first winning ticket on Nov. 30— will actually take home about 70 percent of $192 million, or $135 million, after tax, organizers said.
He bought $10 worth of tickets at a local store in Fountain Hills, northeast of Phoenix hours before the winning numbers were drawn for the second-biggest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
“The winner then placed the ticket in his vehicle, and he put it on the sun visor in his car and left it there,” she said.
The next morning, after he heard that there was a winner in Arizona, he checked the Arizona Lottery website.
“He discovered that he had a winning ticket. He and his wife couldn’t believe it. They checked the numbers over and over again, and were just absolutely shocked.”
After immediately seeking legal and financial advice, he spent days “just taking it all in, and trying to recover from the shock,” before finally coming forward Friday to claim his winnings.
The $587.5 million jackpot was the largest in Powerball history, with a cash option of $384.7 million before taxes, and the second-biggest in U.S. history, after a $656 million payout in the Mega Millions lottery last April.
Lottery fever in the leadup to the drawing was such that 160,000 tickets per minute were sold. Another 8.9 million players won smaller prizes totaling $131 million.
The odds of winning stood at 1 in 175.2 million — compared to the 1 in 1,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning in a given year.
Lottery winnings in the United States are subject to taxation, with winners typically getting a choice between an annuity spread over many years or a reduced amount paid out in a lump sum.