By Todd Northrop
Someone who bought a Powerball ticket in the Richmond, Va. airport for Wednesday night's drawing will wake up a multimillionaire.
The Virginia Lottery said the ticket sold for Wednesday's $217 million drawing matched all five numbers plus the Powerball.
The winning numbers were 5, 27, 36, 38, and 41, with Powerball number 12.
In addition to the jackpot winner, 7 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Arizona, 1 from Connecticut, 1 from Illinois, 1 from Kentucky, 2 from New York, and 1 from Rhode Island.
Of all the second-prize winners, only the Rhode Island ticket was purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1, automatically increasing their prize to $2 million.
According to the Virginia Lottery, the winning ticket was sold at an express self-serve lottery ticket machine at the Richmond airport. Unlike self-serve machines in retail stores, the machine that sold the winning Powerball jackpot ticket in the Richmond airport is owned and operated directly by the Virginia Lottery, which leases the space from the airport.
Because of the unique location of the ticket sale, two interesting thoughts come to mind: where does the winner live, and who gets the retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket?
"The fact that it was sold at the self service machine from the Richmond airport means it could be literally be anyone in the world," said Lottery Director Paula Otto.
Up to 10,000 travelers pass through the suburban airport daily, and all go by the self-service machine where the winning numbers were played. The ticket apparently wasn't held by an airport employee.
"We've taken a roll call, and everybody we've expected to show up has shown up," said Troy Bell, spokesman for the airport. A large jackpot, he said, often sees workers pool to buy lottery tickets. Skycaps who are tipped in cash are likely buyers of lottery tickets.
"We could have had a whole crew wiped out if the right group won," Bell said with a laugh.
When a jackpot-winning ticket is sold, the Virginia Lottery normally pays out a bonus of $50,000 to the retailer that sold the winning ticket. However, in this case, the Virginia Lottery itself owns the lottery machine that was used to sell the winning ticket, so who gets the bonus?
It turns out that nobody gets a bonus. According to John Hagerty of the Virginia Lottery, because the lottery owns the machine, no retailer bonus will be paid out.
Sorry lotto fans, this unusual circumstance will not create a special drawing or extra prizes for the retailer bonus money.
Virginia's first Powerball winner
Otto says the big Powerball win is creating more than buzz, it's added another chapter into the Commonwealth's history.
"We have never had a huge Powerball winner. We've had lots of 1 million dollar winners, lots of secondary prizes," Otto said.
The lucky winner has 180 days from the drawing to claim the big prize. Lottery officials say they strongly advise big winners to sign their ticket immediately and then store it until they're ready to claim the prize.
Virginia's largest jackpot winner is J.R. Triplett of Winchester, who won a $239 million Mega Millions prize in 2004.
Saturday's jackpot is $40 million with a cash value of $25.1 million.
Thanks to Factorem for additional reporting.