US jackpot winner used birthday numbers
Jenny's Gift shop owner Thuy Nguyen (on the right) receiving a US$1 million cheque from California lottery sales representative Mona Sanders in San Jose on Wednesday. He got the sum for selling one of the two winning tickets in Tuesday's US$636 million Mega Millions draw. The winner has yet to claim the prize and has a year to come forward. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
ATLANTA - A 56-year-old woman in the US state of Georgia who bought just one ticket and used family birthdays as well as her "lucky" number 7 was one of two winners of the US$636 million ($800.6 million) Mega Millions jackpot, the second-largest in US history.
Lottery officials in Georgia identified the winner as Mrs Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, which is east of Atlanta. She will take a lump sum of US$123 million after taxes, Georgia Lottery chief executive Debbie Alford said.
"She has not decided how she'll spend those winnings," Ms Alford said on Wednesday.
"It's unreal. It's like I'm still dreaming," Mrs Curry, who lives in a neighbourhood of brick and stucco houses with manicured lawns, said in a statement issued by Georgia Lottery.
The other winning ticket was sold at a gift shop in San Jose, California. The winner has yet to claim the prize and has a year to come forward.
It was a bag of mixed fortunes for the retailers who sold the winning tickets.
For selling the ticket in Tuesday's draw, owner Thuy Nguyen of Jenny's Gift shop in San Jose, California, will get US$1 million. "You can understand why that retailer was smiling last night." state lottery spokesman Donna Cordova said on Wednesday.
But his counterparts in Georgia - Young Soo Lee and Young Lee, who own a Gateway News-stand at an office building in upscale northern Atlanta - get no bonus beyond the usual 6 per cent commission on lottery sales.
Nevertheless, the winning ticket is still likely to give the store publicity, even without a bonus.
Policies on store bonuses - along with those on how long a winner has to claim a prize and whether the name goes public - vary by state, according to Mega Millions lead director Paula Otto. In both Georgia and California, winners' names are released.
Tuesday's jackpot was US$20 million shy of the record US$656 million that was shared by three Mega Millions ticket holders in March last year. New rules that went into effect in October lowered the odds of winning to one in 259 million, but kept the price of tickets at US$1 each.
Some US$336 million in tickets were sold for Tuesday's draw.
REUTERS, ASSOCIATED PRESS,
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