2 Winning Powerball Tickets Sold in NJ

One of your neighbors may be a new millionaire.

At least three people in two states will split the $448.4 million Powerball jackpot, after two winning tickets were sold in New Jersey and one was sold in Minnesota, lottery officials said Thursday.

No winners immediately came forward to claim the jackpot. Winners in both states have a year from the date of the drawing to do so.

One of the winning New Jersey tickets was bought at a Super Stop & Shop store in South Brunswick and the other one was purchased at an Acme Markets store on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County, said Judith Drucker, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery.

The winning Minnesota ticket was sold in Anoka County, which includes the city of Anoka and other suburbs north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota Lottery spokeswoman Debbie Hoffmann said. The exact location wasn't revealed.

The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 05, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32. During the telecast, Powerball officials announced the jackpot that was pegged at $425 million previously in the day had grown amid a buying frenzy.

Each winning ticket was worth $86 million before taxes, or $58.3 million after taxes, if taken in a lump sum. They are worth $149.4 million over 30 years if the winners choose the annuity option.

Several people were anxiously checking their tickets Thursday morning for would-be winners at the Acme store where one of the three tickets that matched all six numbers was sold.

“I'm just happy someone's life is changing for the positive,” said Phil Weber, the director of store, which will receive a portion of the winnings.

Weber wasn't sure what the store's haul would be, though he said he planned to donate a large portion of it to a charity in the area, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in October.

To the north, Judy Soto was filled with regret because she had planned to buy a Powerball ticket for herself at the South Brunswick Stop & Shop the night before, in addition to going in on some with her co-workers at Rutgers University.

“I was too lazy, because I was tired,” she said. “No action in all the years I've lived here.”

Soto was happy, however, that someone local had won a piece of the jackpot and that her hometown was getting some attention.

“I think it's great. It's wonderful. It puts South Brunswick really on the map,” she said, walking through the supermarket's parking lot, which was clogged with television trucks, cameras and reporters.

She said she hoped the person who won could use a windfall. “I hope whoever won really needed the money and uses it wisely,” Soto said.

The biggest jackpot in American history was $656 million, divided among three winners last year in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, according to NBC News. That was a Mega Millions win, which is also played in 43 states.

Earlier this year, the Powerball jackpot reached a record $600 million.

A recent game change intended to build excitement about the lottery has increased the frequency of huge jackpots. Wednesday's jackpot drawing comes only a few months after the biggest Powerball jackpot in history -- a $590 million pot won in Florida by an 84-year-old widow. The second largest Powerball jackpot, $587.5 million, was won in November and split between two tickets from Arizona and Missouri.

New Jersey's winners join Passaic resident Pedro Quezada, who was the lone winner of the March 23 Powerball drawing. The 44-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic claimed a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.

The revamp of Powerball in January 2012 changed the price of a ticket from $1 to $2, a move that upped the chances of the game reaching a major jackpot. There was a loss in the number of players, but the new game -- which also created more chances to win smaller, $1 million and $2 million prizes -- has brought in 52 percent more in sales, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Sales were $5.9 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June.

Powerball is played in 43 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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