Idaho winner still a mystery
One of the two winners of the $380 million Mega Millions jackpot will come forward today.
The unidentified Washington state lottery winner bought the ticket at a Safeway store in the small town of Ephrata.
The same player also bought another ticket that won $150.
Scott Kinney, Washington state Lottery spokesman, said the winner hand-picked the magic numbers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
The numbers drawn in the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history were: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47, and the Mega Ball number was 42.
The Safeway store that sold the winning ticket will receive $50,000.
The $380 million jackpot will be split between the two holders of the winning tickets.
A news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT today, when the player holding the winning $190 million ticket will be revealed, Washington Lottery officials said.
Idaho Winner Still a Mystery
In neighboring Idaho, the winner is still a mystery.
State lottery officials said the winning ticket was sold in Post Falls.
"Idaho is a very lucky place," state Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said. "We are encouraging everyone who has played Mega Millions to check their tickets carefully for winners."
The odds of having the winning numbers in Tuesday night's drawing were one in 176 million.
But Idaho is home to another big winner — Kevin Anderson, of the town of Melba, had five of the six numbers on his ticket, so he'll get $250,000 before taxes. He had been out of work for two years but recently got a new job.
He said he considered the win an early birthday present. He'll be 50 Jan. 25.
"We danced for the next 20 minutes," Anderson said when he claimed his prize. "I needed another number to quit my job."
After taxes, he walked out of Idaho Lottery headquarters with a check for $168,000, money he said he and his wife would mostly save, and maybe use to buy a new car.
Their family struggled with finances and "couldn't afford Christmas, so this is just perfect," he said.
Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said, "We are also recommending all our players sign the back of their tickets prior to presenting it for payment. These tickets are bearer instruments, and we want to ensure our winners protect their play."
Mega Millions is played in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The jackpot grew to $355 million because Friday night's drawing failed to produce a winner for the multi-state lottery's top prize, which was estimated to be $290 million.
On Wednesday, lottery officials increased the jackpot estimate to $380 million after a boost in last minute ticket sales.
The jackpot had reached $380 million after 15 consecutive drawings that started Nov. 12.
Mega Millions jackpots begin with $12 million and roll over to the next drawing until there is a winner.
Other smaller monetary prizes can range from $2 to $250,000, depending on how many numbers are matched.
The Mega Millions lucky numbers are eerily similar to the ones that haunted fans of the ABC television series "Lost" for six seasons. While the winners of Tuesday's jackpot are still a mystery, the dreams of hopeful players are filled with optimism, which is better than the fate of the Hugo Reyes character who suffered a string of bad luck after winning the lottery on the show.
Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (played by actor Jorge Garcia) may have been the unluckiest lottery winner on the ABC television series "Lost" but had you played his numbers in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, you would have won $150.
"Lost" co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof said the coincidence might be good karma for the show's dedicated fans.
"Considering the show pretty much drove its fans crazy for six years, it seems only karmically just that it has finally decided to give back," Lindelof told ABC News.
Fellow executive producer Carlton Cuse said via tweet not to blame the show's creators if the Lotto connection, like many of "Lost's" plot twists and turns, remains unsolved.
"I'm sure there is a larger, mystical reason this happened, but in this case if it never gets explained, don't blame me or Damon," executive producer Carlton Cuse said via tweet.
The numbers Reyes used to win $156 million were: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, four out of the six numbers picked on Tuesday.
The numbers played a pivotal role throughout the series; from Reyes' personal tragedies, such as the death of his grandfather, to the appearances on the island during crucial turning points in the storyline.