U.S. News

Two Winners in Mega Millions $370 Million Jackpot

Associated Press

At least two people woke up Wednesday well on their way to becoming millionaires. Winning tickets were purchased in New Jersey and Georgia for the record $370 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, and there could be others in California, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery said Wednesday.

With all the states reporting except California early Wednesday, Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen said two winning tickets had been sold, one each in New Jersey and Georgia. All 12 states involved in the lottery drawing report through Ohio.

California Lottery spokesman Rob McAndrews said it would be midmorning before his state's results were in. "The volume of ticket sales was so high. As a result it's taking us more time to process than is typical," McAndrews said.

Representatives of the Georgia and New Jersey lotteries were trying to confirm where in their states the winning tickets were purchased.

The winning numbers, 16-22-29-39-42, and the Mega Ball 20, were announced Tuesday night in New York's Times Square, where the 12 participating Mega Millions states agreed to move the drawing after the jackpot hit $355 million Monday. The Mega Millions drawing's usual home is Atlanta.

Even though the temperature was a frosty 16 degrees, a handful of hopefuls showed up to watch the event outside the street-level Times Square studio, waving their tickets in the air.

Millions of people across the nation wished and waited after snapping up tickets for the jackpot.

Earlier Tuesday, lottery players lined up at stores around the country in the hope of buying the winning ticket. New Yorkers bought more than 1 million tickets an hour, said Robert McLaughlin, the state's lottery director. Virginia retailers sold about 8,550 tickets per minute as the drawing approached.

The odds of winning: about 1 in 176 million.

At New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal, construction worker Andelko Kalinic had an idea of what he would do if his Mega Millions ticket paid off.

"Go to the moon," he said. "Why not?"

The deadline for buying tickets was 10:45 p.m. But lottery players in Ohio who waited until late in the day to purchase their tickets were out of luck. The system went down statewide at about 10:20 p.m., about 25 minutes before the deadline for placing wagers, Cohen said.

She said it's unclear what caused the problem but the system would be reviewed.

"For those people who wanted to make a wager and didn't get a chance, we're very, very sorry," she said.

The largest previous multistate lottery jackpot was $365 million in 2006, when eight workers at a Nebraska meat processing plant hit the Powerball lotto. The Big Game lotto, the forerunner of Mega Millions, paid out a $363 million jackpot in 2000.

Mega Millions tickets are sold in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state.

At a Los Angeles convenience store, maps specialist Rikki Bilder went in on nine Mega Millions tickets with two co-workers. She said they would quit their jobs if they won.

"I would probably hire a financial consultant, because you can't put this kind of money in 100 banks," said Bilder, 69. "I would study finance, and give to charity. Oh, and I would probably give some of it to my children. I'm old, I'm not going to live 100 years."