Four winners in $295 million US lottery

 

There were four winning tickets sold in the $295 million Powerball lottery, the third largest in US history, held last night, according to lottery officials.

Winning tickets were purchased in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Delaware, and Kentucky, officials said today. Winners will not be known until they come forward with their tickets.

Undeterred by very long odds, Americans bought record numbers of Powerball lottery tickets in 21 states and Washington D.C. yesterday, hoping to win the jackpot.

The six numbers drawn were 17, 8, 42, 22, 47 and the powerball of 21.

Stronger than expected sales in the closing hours before the drawing boosted the jackpot to $295 million, just $700,000 short of the second largest lottery payout in the United States in 1998.

Hoards of hopeful buyers from New York, which does not participate in the lottery, forced neighboring Greenwich, Connecticut, to halt ticket sales for a day on Friday because of crowd control concerns. Sales resumed yesterday.

The record for any U.S. lottery jackpot - $363 million - was won in 2000 in a different multi-state game.

The pot has grown so large because twice weekly drawings failed to produce a winner in 18 tries.

Should there be a winner, that person has the choice of 25 payments of $11.8 million each before taxes paid over 24 years, or a single lump sum payment of about $170 million, also before taxes.

Federal taxes on the winnings would most likely amount to 39.6 per cent. State taxes vary, with some states having none at all, others sizable amounts.

Powerball, which carries 80 million-to-one odds of a single winner, operates in 21 states and Washington DC. To win players must match six numbers - five from 1 to 49 and a sixth single Powerball number from 1 to 42.