Winning tickets in $564 million Powerball bought at food mart, gas station

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 12:06 PM

DALLAS (Reuters) - A food mart in a small city north of Dallas, Texas, and a gas station in southern Puerto Rico were two of three places where winning tickets were sold in the estimated $564.1 million U.S. Powerball lottery, officials said on Thursday.

Winning tickets were sold in Princeton, Texas, Ponce, Puerto Rico and North Carolina for the jackpot drawing Wednesday night, which was the third-largest in the game's history and one of the largest lottery jackpots ever in the United States.

It is the first time Puerto Rico has a Powerball winner, but the ticket buyer has not come forward yet.

"We've only been selling Powerball here for four months, and we've already been surprised with a good prize," said Enid Rodriguez, a lottery spokeswoman in Puerto Rico.

Laisa Rodriguez, manager at the Shell station that sold the winning ticket, said she hopes more people will buy lottery tickets there in the future, thinking "that it's the lucky spot."

"We're super excited," she said.

The Texas ticket was bought with the cash option, meaning the winner or winners will receive about $127 million before taxes, the Texas Lottery said. The holder of that winning ticket has yet to come forward, a lottery spokeswoman said.

The Appletree Food Mart in Princeton where the ticket was sold will receive a $1 million retailer bonus, the Texas Lottery said. The business, a Valero gas station, is owned by husband and wife Chandra Siwakoti and Smriti Acharya.

"You never think of something like this happening so when it did, we couldn't imagine it," Acharya said in a telephone interview.

The Powerball rolled over for nearly three months, pushing the jackpot beyond the half-billion mark until three tickets matched the numbers 11, 13, 25, 39 and 54, lottery officials said. The Powerball number was 19.

Winners can select a lump-sum cash payout or opt to take annuity payments over 29 years, before taxes. Before Wednesday, the last Powerball jackpot was won in late November at $90 million.

The jackpot has reverted to its starting point at $40 million. Drawings are made on Wednesday and Saturday nights and tickets cost $2 each. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 175 million.

The biggest Powerball jackpot awarded by the Multi-State Lottery Association was $590.5 million in May 2013 to the holder of a single winning ticket. The association's Mega Millions lottery awarded a top prize of $656 million three years ago.

Powerball tickets are sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(Reporting by Marice Richter in Dallas, David Bailey in Minneapolis and Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Lambert)