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Lottery officials verify winning Powerball ticket

It's said to be one of two, sold in Missouri and Arizona, for the $588-million jackpot.

November 30, 2012|Times staff and wire reports

DEARBORN, Mo. — Powerball fever carried an edge of anticipation Thursday as Missouri lottery officials said they had verified one of two tickets that matched all six numbers to split a $588-million jackpot, but that ticket holder — and another in Arizona — remained a mystery.

The winning tickets were sold at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix and a gas station in Dearborn, just off Interstate 29.

Missouri lottery officials said they had verified a ticket presented to them that included all winning numbers — 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and the Powerball, 6 — and scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Friday. Lottery Chief Operations Officer Gary Gonder couldn't provide details.

Even so, excitement reigned at the stores that sold the winning tickets.

"Suddenly the phone can't stop ringing, people are coming in, and it's pretty exciting," Bob Chebat, manager of a Four Sons convenience store in suburban Fountain Hills, Ariz., told The Times in a telephone interview.

Chebat said he had no idea who purchased the winning ticket, which will be worth about $294 million if the winner decides to take the money over 30 years rather than all at once.

The store will get a $25,000 bonus for selling it, but Chebat didn't know whether he would receive anything. "We'll hear from the company about what will happen," he said.

In Missouri, where the Trex Mart will get a $50,000 bonus from state lottery officials, general manager Kenny Gilbert suggested his staff would get a cut.

"The response from the owner was, 'I guess we'll be able to give out Christmas bonuses,'" Gilbert said. "That's nice, especially at this time of year."

In addition, it's not uncommon for the winner to tip the seller, especially if the jackpot is large.

"People always promise things when they buy the ticket," Chebat said. "When there is a large jackpot, they'll tell us, 'If I win, I'll shove something your way.' They promise, but we'll wait to see."

The cash value of the total jackpot is $384.7 million before taxes, or about $192 million per ticket, if the winners choose to take a lump sum. The jackpot had rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner.

Players have 180 days to present the winning tickets to state officials.

The largest lottery payout in U.S. history remains $656 million from Mega Millions in March, shared by three ticket buyers.

Times staff writer Michael Muskal in Los Angeles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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