CHICAGO — Maryland lottery officials announced early Saturday that their state sold what could become the world's largest lottery payout of all-time, but it wasn't immediately clear if that ticket holder would get sole possession of the $640 million jackpot or have to split it with other winners.
Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland Lottery, said the winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased at a retailer in Baltimore County. She said it's too early to know any other information about the lucky ticket holder or whether others were sold elsewhere in the nation.
The winning numbers were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.
National lottery officials were expecting to list early Saturday on their website how many winning tickets were sold and from what states, but Maryland sent out its news release and called media organizations hours before the scheduled announcement. The headline of its news release said the winning sale was "one of several nationwide," but Everett told The Associated Press she couldn't immediately confirm any others.
Everett said the last time a ticket from the state won a major national jackpot was 2008 when a ticket sold for $24 million.
"We're thrilled," she said. "We're due and excited."
The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.
Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sun and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.
The Maryland lottery Web site reports:
Maryland sold one of the winning tickets for last night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot. The lucky ticket was purchased at a retailer in Baltimore County. Lottery officials are waiting for information on jackpot winners from other Mega Millions states. The multi-state Mega Millions game is played in 44 states and jurisdictions – including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Last night’s winning numbers were 2-4-23-38-46 and Mega Ball 23.
“This is truly remarkable and historic,” said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino. “We can’t wait to greet the winner of this world-record setting jackpot.”