Not bad for 2nd place: Northwest Side 7-11 sells $1 million winner
By MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA AND JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporters March 31, 2012 1:24PM
Red Bud, Ill., MotoMart store manager Denise Metzger looks at an oversized check given to her by lottery officials Saturday morning March 31, 2012. They visited the convenience store in this town of about 3,700 residents to verify that her store had indeed sold one of the three winning Mega Millions lottery tickets. The jackpot of over $640 million established a new record, and may grow slightly larger as late ticket purchases are added in to the total. The oversized check Metzger holds shows the amount each of the winners could get after the three-way split from Friday night's Mega Millions drawing. The other winning tickets were sold in Maryland and Kansas. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Tim Vizer)
Updated: May 2, 2012 8:26AM
Three lottery tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland hit the world record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, leaving scores of players across the country with busted multi-millionaire dreams.
Illinois’ winning ticket was bought at a convenience store in the small town of Red Bud, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis, and the winner used a quick pick to select the lucky numbers, Illinois Lottery Supt. Michael Jones said.
“This is the largest prize ever won in Illinois,” an excited Jones said Saturday.
The downstate winner — who Jones said had not yet come forward — along with the Maryland and Kansas winners, will each receive $213.3 million before taxes.
“That’s if he or she opts for being paid over a 26-year period,” Jones said. “If they decide they want to do the cash option, that would be a $154 million lump payout. And after withholding, they would actually have $108 million.”
The winner has 60 days to inform the Illinois Lottery of how they choose to collect, after which time it automatically becomes a 26-year payout. However, the winner has up to a year to come forward with the winning ticket, or forfeit the prize.
The winning numbers in Friday night’s drawing were 02-04-23-38-46; the Mega Ball, 23.
The MotoMart store on Main Street in Redbud, pop. 3,700, will receive a $500,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket Friday night.
For 12 second-place winners who came this/close to the jackpot by matching the first five numbers, there was a silver lining. Each will receive $250,000. And one of them, who paid an extra dollar to play the Megaplier number, upped their prize to $1 million by matching the five numbers and the Megaplier — which was 03, Jones said.
That ticket was purchased at a 7-Eleven at 1750 W. Foster. Clerk Karla Cantinos said late Saturday that they still didn’t know who won. She called and let her boss, who is on vacation, know the store stood to gain $10,000 for selling the ticket.
“Everybody’s excited and still buying tickets for the next big games,” she said.
Two other $250,000 winners bought there tickets at city locations: the DM Stores, 222 N. LaSalle, and AG 26th, 3201 W. 26th St.
So far, none of the winners have been identified. Lottery winners in Illinois are made public, but neither Maryland nor Kansas requires lottery winners to be identified; those two winners can claim the prize anonymously. The winning numbers also were purchased at a 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, Md., north of Baltimore, and somewhere in northeast Kansas.
Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot. The Illinois Lottery did $30 million in sales between Tuesday and Friday for the drawing — $20 million of that on Friday alone. And the new Illinois website, which debuted last Sunday, making Illinois the first state ever to offer lottery tickets online, took in some $1 million in sales. But there were problems with the site, Jones admitted.
“We had several outages,” he said. “It’s a work in progress. We have protocol questions as well as bugs, and we will work together with the private manager Northstar to make sure that those things are fixed.”
Contributing: Dave McKinney, Associated Press