The sole winner of Saturday’s Powerball drawing bought the $344.6 million magic ticket in Cumberland County, N.C. lottery officials said.
It was the only ticket to match all six numbers: white balls 6, 15, 34, 45, 52, plus Powerball 8, and Power Play multiplier 2X.
It’s the largest Powerball jackpot ever won in North Carolina from a single ticket, Powerball officials said in a statement.
The ticket was sold at Carlie C’s IGA, a grocery store at 3501 North Main St. in Hope Mills, according to the lottery. The store just outside of Fayetteville is eligible to receive a $50,000 retailer incentive award for selling the jackpot ticket.
While the winner has yet to step forward, it is very possible it could be a service member from the nearby U.S. Army installation, Fort Bragg. The Army post is home to over 50,000 soldiers and is less than 15 miles from the store which sold the winning ticket.
“It was flooring (to hear the news,)” said store co-manager Jean Floyd.
For now, the store is operating as usual, with one major exception: “Our phones are ringing off the hook,” co-manager Tim Strickland said. “Regulars and people who have never played here before are calling, asking for our location.”
Floyd said there never before had been a jackpot winner at the store, which sells about $1,000 worth of lottery tickets a day.
The $344.6 million jackpot can be paid out in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or delivered in a lump sum payment of $223.3 million.
The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.
Saturday’s drawing also led to smaller prizes.
Twenty-three tickets matched four white balls and the red Powerball to win a $50,000 prize, and six doubled the prize to $100,000 by including the Power Play option. And a player who bought a $3 Power Play ticket at the Charlotte Bistro near baggage claim at Charlotte Douglas International Airport won $100,000 in the drawing, according to the N.C. lottery.
Overall, there were more than 1.1 million winning tickets across prize tiers, Powerball said.
The Powerball jackpot has been hit once before this year. In the March 27 drawing, a single winner in Wisconsin claimed a jackpot worth $768.4 million. It was the third largest in U.S. lottery history, Powerball said.
The second-largest jackpot went to a South Carolina resident in March, the Associated Press reported. The record prize of $1.58 billion was claimed by residents of three states in 2016.
Saturday’s drawing marked the fifth time North Carolina had a Powerball jackpot winner, the N.C. Education Lottery said. The winner has 180 days to claim the prize.
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