Cheers and shouts filled the lobby of the Arizona Lottery Thursday morning as the terminal rang out "We are in the Money," signaling the validation of the winning Powerball jackpot.
"That's when we knew it was really real," said Tanya Poirier, one of the "Arizona 9," a group of seven co-workers and two spouses who shared one-half of a $94.1 million Powerball jackpot for the Wednesday, Nov. 1, drawing. Their half of the jackpot came to $47,050,000.
Arizona Lottery Executive Director Art Macias said he was "thrilled" about an Arizona winner. "The last time we had a jackpot winner was in December 2004 and, although we have had 68 second-place winning tickets since then, we think we are due for another big jackpot. And this being our 25th Anniversary, the timing couldn't be better for these winners and Arizona communities!"
Tanya, who buys the tickets, said she brought the "pool tradition" from a former job to the local architectural firm for which the group works. They have been playing for a little over a year but typically only when the jackpot hits the $100 million mark.
"We are tickled pink that we played early this year," she said.
The "Arizona 9" are Tanya and Steve Poirier, Mark Kristen, Dawn and Mitchell Levy, Jinia Sarkar, Eve Kalliokoski, all of Phoenix; Andrew Schuh, Queen Creek; and Scott Alack, Tempe.
They discovered they had won when a co-worker checked the winning numbers on the web, printed them and took them to Tanya. Tanya checked and double-checked to confirm the numbers. They notified the other co-workers who also notified their spouses. "Neither spouse believed them; they thought it was joke," she said.
Everybody was still a bit skeptical until they came to the Lottery to claim their prize.
Asked if the group would continue to play, Tanya said, "Oh Yeah! We had winners on other tickets and just rolled them over for the next drawing." Since joining Powerball in 1994, Arizona has sold eight winning Powerball jackpots. Arizona Powerball sales have exceeded $1.2 billion and have generated almost $405 million for the State of Arizona (General Fund and Mass Transit).
Arizona sold one of the two winning jackpot tickets; the other was sold in Minnesota. For the Nov. 1 drawing, Arizona sold more than 27,640 winning tickets and three for the $10,000 prize. The winning numbers are: 7, 8, 13, 46, and 54. The Powerball is 35 and Power Play is 2.
The winning ticket was sold at 7-Eleven #16393, 2424 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix. For selling the winning ticket, 7-Eleven will receive $25,000 as part of the Lottery's overall retailer incentive program.
At 4:30 p.m. today, the 7-Eleven store will be presented with its check. On hand for the celebration will be 7-Eleven officials and Lottery representatives (including mascot Windfall Willie). From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., 98 KUPD radio station will be on-site.