Chooses to remain anonymous
The winner of Maryland's $189 million Mega Millions jackpot is no longer a mystery, although their identity remains so.
The Maryland Lottery announced Friday that the winner has come forward and has chosen to remain anonymous. He hid his ticket in an unplugged lamp for over a week until driving through pouring rain Friday to claim his prize at Lottery headquarters on Friday.
The Anne Arundel County man won the second largest jackpot in Maryland's history, officials say. He found his fortune at Dash In, located at 7845 Quarterfield Road in Severn.
The winner had selected the cash option and will take home $86 million after state and federal taxes. The retailer will earn a $100,000 commission for selling the ticket and the state of Maryland will receive more than $11.3 million in tax revenue.
"We are blessed," he said, accepting the win on behalf of his "Lucky Family," as the group dubbed themselves for publicity photos.
According to officials at the Maryland Lottery, the lucky winner said he had dreamed of his relatives saying the winning numbers the night before he bought 10 Mega Millions tickets at his favorite Lottery retailer.
Although he says he often stops there for gas and to play Lottery games, that night he played different combinations of the numbers in his dream along with his birth month, date and year.
"It's like they were talking to me about the numbers in the dream," he said. Before picking the numbers in the store, he asked for heavenly guidance. "I prayed, 'Lord, if you want this money to belong to me, guide my hand,' " the man said.
The morning after the October 1st drawing, a relative called him at work and told him their favorite store sold the winning ticket. After asking for the jackpot numbers, our winner remembers saying on the phone, "Wow! I got all of those numbers on one line." He then began weeping with joy. "I cried and I cried," he said. "Since the economy went down, our life has been tough."
The winner initially hid the ticket under a water jug where he and his wife put their spare change, but later settled on hiding the ticket in a light bulb socket after removing one of two bulbs and unplugging the lamp.
Many family members said they will pay off their mortgages but have no other plans for the money yet, according to lottery officials.
"Everyone's a winner when the jackpot comes home to Maryland," said Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. "The jackpot winner, the retailer who sold the winning ticket and the people of the state of Maryland all benefit from the win."
The Mega Millions game is played in 45 states and jurisdictions – including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
This big win is the second Maryland Mega Millions jackpot win this year, following the $26 million jackpot claimed by a Mt. Airy woman in late February. In all, Maryland has seen 10 Mega Millions jackpot winners. This year alone, Maryland had 15 second-tier $1 million winners.
The largest jackpot in Maryland history and in the country was a $656 record-breaker set back in March 2012. It was split among three states, with Maryland's "Three Amigos" taking home a third of the prize.
Since it was created in 1973, the Maryland Lottery has awarded nearly $21 billion in prizes to players and $13.3 billion in revenue to the State of Maryland.