Second U.S. Lottery Winner 'Only Played Twice in Year'
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 last year when he struck lucky with tickets bought at the last minute last week, 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 last week -- will actually take home about 70 percent of $192 million, or $135 million, after tax, organizers said.
He bought 10 dollars' worth of tickets at a local store in Fountain Hills, northeast of Phoenix, last Wednesday, 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 last weekend 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 lead-up to last week's 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 one in 175.2 million -- compared to the one in a million 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.
Last week Missouri mechanic Mark Hill and his unemployed wife Cindy vowed to stay grounded and not let the massive windfall go to their heads after claiming their half of the prize.
Friday's winner could have waited but decided to come forward this calendar year, "because he did have concerns about the uncertainty with the fiscal cliff in 2013," which might cost him more in tax, said Bach.
"He is truly an amazing individual," she added, saying "he is intelligent, he is outgoing and he is very engaging.
"I have no doubt that he will use the money to do wonderful things."
Arizona Lottery executive director Jeff Hatch-Miller said the man wanted to keep working. "The winner said 'I like my job, I'd like to continue working,'" but at the same time was realistic about how his life would change.
"I gather from his manner and general discussion that he would prefer to have the kind of lifestyle that he had ... not necessarily the same house or the same car, but in general the same kind of anonymity," he added.