Woman, 81, keeps lottery ticket in Bible, wins jackpot

Tue Mar 6, 2012 1:15pm EST
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(Reuters) - An 81-year-old Rhode Island woman, who slept with her winning lottery ticket in a Bible, came forward on Tuesday to claim a $336.4 million PowerBall prize, one of the largest ever jackpots in the United States, lottery officials said.

Louise White kept her identity secret for weeks after buying the lucky ticket at a grocery store in Newport, Rhode Island, when a family member wanted some rainbow sherbet dessert.

She took the prize in one lump sum payment of $210 million, the highest cash jackpot ever, lottery officials said.

"I'm very happy and I'm very proud and this will make my family very happy. We are truly blessed," White, a Newport resident, said during a brief appearance at a news conference.

White slept with the winning ticket in her Bible the night after the drawing and later kept it in a safe deposit box.

PowerBall is played in 42 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The largest PowerBall jackpot was in 2006 for $365 million, according to lottery officials.

The odds of winning the PowerBall jackpot are roughly 1 in 175 million.

(Reporting By Lauren Keiper; Editing by Sandra Maler and Will Dunham)