Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
Powerball announced that a single ticket sold at a convenience store in Chicopee, Massachusetts, was the winner of Wednesday night’s $758.7 million jackpot, according to the Powerball website. It was the second largest lottery prize in United States history, according to the Associated Press.
The winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23 and 26, and the final number, called the Powerball number, was 4.
Massachusetts States Lottery initially reported that the ticket had been purchased at the Handy Variety convenience store in Watertown, about nine miles west of Boston.
The lottery later corrected that statement, saying the lone winning ticket had been purchased at a Pride Station & Store in Chicopee.
Handy Variety, in fact, sold a $1 million prize, according to the lottery.
The name of the massive jackpot’s winner has not yet been released. The payout, which can be taken in a lump sum or in 29 yearly payments, is estimated to be around $443 million, depending on state taxes.
That isn’t to say others weren’t close.
Powerball Product Group Chair Charlie McIntyre said in a statement said several tickets also struck gold, the AP reported.
Six tickets – sold in Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands – won $2 million each.
Thirty-four tickets across the United States won $1 million.
Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The game is simple. Twice a week, five white balls are drawn from a drum that holds 69 balls, each bearing a number between 1 and 69. These account for the first five numbers. Then, a red ball is drawn from a drum holding 26 balls, each bearing a number between 1 and 26. This is called the Powerball.
To win the jackpot, a person must correctly pick all six numbers. The odds are roughly 1 in 292 million, as The Washington Post’s Alex Horton reported.
Hitting the jackpot wasn’t always such a difficult task. The game changed in October 2015, when the total number of white balls increased from 59 to 69, which exponentially increased the odds. Previously, players had a roughly 1 in 175 million chance of winning.
The goal of that rule change was to create record-breaking large jackpots.
“Powerball has been revamped seven other times in its 23-year history so that the game can continue to be attractive to players by delivering the big jackpots that players want, and these new changes will do just that,” Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery, said in a statement when the change was implemented.
It worked. The jackpot hit a historic $1.6 billion last year, which was split three ways in January 2016.
Wednesday’s jackpot might have been the second biggest, but many expected it to actually surpass that $1.6 billion record if that lucky ticket-holder hadn’t hit on the right numbers. That’s because of what Kelly Tabor, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Lottery, calls “jackpot chasers,” casual players who rush out to buy a ticket when the jackpot gets big enough.
“That’s really driving up sales right now,” Tabor told The Post earlier this week.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Travis M. Andrews, Lindsey Bever