Two share record U.K. national lottery worth £66 million; U.S. one near $1 billion

Reuters, AFP-JIJI, Reuters

Britain’s biggest-ever national lottery win was shared by two players, organizers said after huge numbers of tickets were sold for the £66 million ($96 million) tax-free jackpot.

Saturday night’s U.K. national lottery draw attracted many more players than normal.

It came the same day as Americans flocked to get tickets for a record jackpot of about $950 million in the United States’ Powerball draw.

The previous biggest British national lottery jackpot, more than 20 years ago, was £22.6 million.

British winners of the pan-European Euromillions lottery draw have received far more in recent years. The biggest win came in 2011 when a Scottish couple collected £161 million.

Britain launched its national lottery in 1994. The twice-weekly game is run by Camelot, a company now owned by the teachers’ pension fund for the Canadian province of Ontario, and raises over £34 million for charity each week.

The Powerball numbers were announced Saturday night, and lottery officials said one person could possibly take home annual payments totaling $950 million over 29 years, or a lump sum of $558 million before taxes.

The jackpot began on Nov. 7 but rolled over a surprising 19 times before Saturday.

It then rolled over again when lottery officials said there was no winner of Saturday’s record $900 million jackpot in the multi-state Powerball lottery.

The next drawing, expected to establish another record payout of a reported $1.3 billion, was slated for Wednesday.

The prize would shatter the previous record for a U.S. lottery jackpot of $656 million, scooped up by three winning tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas in March 2012.

In the Powerball lottery, which takes place each Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m., five white balls are drawn from a drum containing 69 balls. One red one is pulled from a drum with 26. To win the jackpot, a ticket holder has to match all the numbers on the six balls selected. The odds of winning Saturday were estimated at 1 in 292 million.