Dh5.84 billion lottery: Unknown Californian is the winner

A man buys a Powerball lottery ticket from a stand in New York on January 12, 2016. Record sales drove up the largest jackpot in US history to a whopping $1.5 billion January 12 as people dreaming of riches flocked across state lines and international borders to buy tickets. Even after the taxman calls, the Powerball jackpot could make the lucky winner wealthier than the likes of British boy band One Direction, soccer star Lionel Messi, Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer and US superstar Beyonce. You can then choose to be paid the full jackpot in annual installments for 29 years -- or take $930 million as a one-off payment -- before taxes. AFP

At least one unidentified person in California won the massive $1.59 billion (Dh5.84bn) Powerball lottery on Wednesday, officials said after drawing the winning numbers for the world’s largest potential jackpot for a single player.

The winning ticket was sold in Chino Hills, a suburb east of Los Angeles, California Lottery officials said. About one hour after the drawing, no other states had reported that they sold a winning ticket for the $1.586 billion prize.

The six winning numbers were 08 27 34 04 19 and Powerball 10. They were picked during a late Wednesday drawing at lottery offices in Tallahassee, Florida.

The payout is worth about $930 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual payments over 29 years, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and two US territories.

Odds of picking a winning combination were 1 in 292 million.

The prospect of becoming North America’s newest billionaire sparked a ticket-buying frenzy, which was expected to reach a rate of $1.3 million per minute during the evening commuter rush hour, Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas lottery, said at a news conference.

Powerball sales were “exponentially higher” than normal, Grief said. Since the jackpot was last hit on Nov. 4, 2015, a total of $2.65 billion in Powerball tickets have been sold, Grief said.

“If I win, I’ll give it all away to poor people,” said New York restaurant deliveryman Osman Gamie, 43, after buying a dozen of the $2 tickets at a midtown Manhattan grocery.

For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, 50% goes to prizes, 40% to causes such as education, and 10% to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs, Grief said.

“It’s amazing; it’s crazy,” said Milwaukee Wal-Mart worker Juan Galindo, 41, who sought to pump up his luck by purchasing tickets at three different locations in Wisconsin.

Tatiann Cave, a 23-year-old home health aide, said she would use the jackpot to start her own cosmetics business.

“I’d like to quit my job and do something inspiring,” Cave said.

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