by John Bacon, USA TODAY
The Tallahassee offices of the Florida Lottery opened Monday and lottery officials along with the entire nation were waiting to find out who will walk through the door and claim the largest single-ticket jackpot in U.S. history.
One Powerball ticket sold in a Publix supermarket in the Tampa suburb of Zephyrhills, Fla., is worth $590.5 million. The lucky numbers in Saturday night's drawing were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11. The winner has 60 days to claim the money under state law.
"We don't expect anyone to come forward right away," said David Bishop, deputy secretary of the Florida Lottery. "The winner may not even know they have the winning ticket yet. And if they are smart, they are going to see an attorney and talk to an accountant first."
The winner can claim a lump sum of more than $376.9 million. The jackpot barely beat out Powerball's previous record jackpot of $587.5 million that drew two winning tickets just last year. The largest U.S. jackpot for any game was $656 million from a Mega Millions drawing in 2012 that also was shared.
Consolation prizes from Saturday's drawing were making people rich, too. Tickets worth $2 million each were sold in New York state and South Carolina. And 33 people in 17 states will pocket a cool $1 million. Six of them were sold in New York state.
In Zephyrhills, a mob of media and the curious amassed Sunday outside the Zephyr Commons Publix supermarket after lottery officials said the ticket was sold there.
Inside, a manager said the enthusiasm of the moment was muted, even as rumors swirled that an employee might have won.
"We're kind of excited that someone bought the ticket here, but we still have work to do," said Amanda, a manager who declined to provide her last name.
Joan Albertson, 64, a Zephyrhills resident and retiree, said she had heard the whispers that a Publix employee had not shown up for work Sunday, fueling talk in the city of about 13,000 that the winner worked there.
Albertson, who had purchased five tickets at a gas station across the street from the Publix, said that would be fine with her.
"I can't wait to find out who won," she said. "I am happy for them. We'll keep buying tickets - just because somebody else here wins doesn't mean we can't get lucky, too."
Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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