UPDATE: Final jackpot amount announced — $543 million
By Todd Northrop
A winning ticket to the 11th-largest U.S. lottery prize ever was sold at a liquor store in San Jose, California.
The ticket matched all six numbers drawn — 1, 2, 4, 19, and 29, with Mega Ball number 20. The Megaplier was 3.
The winning ticket was sold at Ernie's Liquors , located at 2808 S White Rd. in San Jose.
The winner will receive an estimated $543 million, which is the 3rd-largest jackpot in the history of Mega Millions, and the 9th-largest jackpot ever in US lottery history. If the winner chooses the lump-sum cash payout, they will receive an estimated $320.5 million in cash, minus federal taxes. (California does not apply state tax to lottery winnings.)
The sum had been multiplying rapidly since the last time it was won on May 4. It hit $375 million on July 14 and $493 million on Saturday.
"This has been an exciting roll," said Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director. "Congratulations to California for taking home the fifth largest jackpot in Mega Millions history."
Kewal Sachdev, 65, the owner of Ernie's Liquors, was at his San Jose home taking a nap when an employee called him with the news that the store had sold a winning ticket.
He was stunned. Nothing like it has happened in the 18 years he has owned the store.
"We were wishing," he said in an interview at his store. "And the wish came true today.'
"I'm still digesting what happened," he added. "I don't know at this time how to react."
Sachdev said word that a winning ticket was purchased at his store will be good for business.
"People are going to think this is a lucky store," he said.
The store sold as many as 4,000 tickets ahead of the most recent drawing, which wasn't much considering the size of the jackpot, Sachdev said. Lotto fever just didn't seem to take hold this time.
Sachdev said he has heard the store that sells the winning ticket receives half a percent of the jackpot, which in this case would amount to the princely sum of $2.6 million.
"I'm processing the whole thing," he said. "In a couple of days, we'll figure out what happened and what to do about it."
John Nguyen, 35, of San Jose, heard the news and drove over to check out Ernie's Liquors. He plays the lottery every week, but he has never purchased a ticket from Sachdev's store.
"Most definitely," he said when asked if he was going to change things up. "I'll try it."
Nguyen also had a message for the new half-billionaire.
"The winner is going to need a financial adviser. And I am one," he said. "So they can call me."
Eight other tickets matched the five white balls to win the game's second prize, six worth $1 million each, and two that included the optional Megaplier and are worth $3 million each: 1 from Arizona, 2 from Massachusetts (1 with Megaplier), 1 from Michigan, 1 from Minnesota, 2 from New Jersey, and 1 from Texas (with Megaplier).
Another 102 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $10,000 prize. Of those tickets, 9 were purchased with the Megaplier option, increasing the prize to $30,000, and 5 were sold in California, where the prize was worth $22,437 this drawing.
The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $2 each.
With the jackpot have been won last night, the Mega Millions jackpot resets to its starting value of $40 million for the next drawing on Friday.
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.
This article has been updated to reflect the final annuity and cash value amounts after all proceeds were counted Wednesday.