February 20, 2014 / 8:30 PM / 5 years ago

Lottery officials wait for winner of $425 million Powerball to step up

MILPITAS, California (Reuters) - Lottery officials in California were waiting on Thursday to hear from the holder of the single winning ticket of a $425.3 million national Powerball prize, a day after announcing the sixth highest jackpot drawing in U.S. history.

A TV cameraman films a sign for Virginia's $400 million Powerball lottery in Arlington, Virginia February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The winning ticket in the nationwide game was bought at a Chevron gas station next to a freeway ramp in the Northern California city of Milpitas, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco. The retailer will receive a bonus of $1 million.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Lottery, which manages Powerball matters in the state as well as other games, said he did not expect the holder of the Powerball ticket to come forward on Thursday.

“The first day is usually that moment when they try to figure things out, so I would be surprised if we would see them today,” he said of the winner, whose ticket matched all six winning numbers in the Powerball drawing. They were 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and 34, according to the Powerball website.

Many jackpot winners take a few days to consult with lawyers and financial advisers before claiming their prize, said Cathy Doyle-Johnston, a spokeswoman for California Lottery.

Parmeet Singh, 24, whose parents owns the retailer that sold the winning ticket and six other California Chevron stations, said a friend called him to say the winning ticket had been sold at the Milpitas location.

“I thought he was lying, I thought no way, I was in shock,” said Singh, who added that he believes the jackpot winner should buy a Ferrari as a first purchase after taking the prize.

Singh said his father had flown to India on Wednesday to visit family and was unaware his station had won the $1 million bonus.

The top prize for the lottery, which is drawn twice a week, had rolled over and swelled 15 times since the last jackpot on Christmas Day, said a Powerball spokeswoman in New York.

The winner can either opt to take the full amount as an annuity paid over 30 years or a $242.2 million lump sum, lottery officials said.

In the last two years, Powerball prizes have increased sharply due to a doubling in ticket prices to $2 and because California, the nation’s most populous state, has joined 42 other states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands in playing the game.

The biggest winner in Powerball history, from Florida, took home $590 million before taxes in May 2013.

A delivery driver who shared a $648 million jackpot with one other winner in a Mega Millions lottery game in December bought his ticket from a gift shop in San Jose, about 10 miles from Milpitas.

Reporting by Laila Kearney in Milpitas, Calif.; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler

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