Three Winners in Mega Millions Jackpot

9:10 AM, Apr 1, 2012   |    comments
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Lottery officials say that three people won the jackpot of Friday night's record Mega Millions Drawing. Those winners were in Maryland, Kansas, and Illinois.

Winning Numbers: 02-04-23-38-46

Mega Ball: 23

Lottery officials say each winning ticket will be worth more than $213 million before taxes.

The jackpot reached $640 million on Friday. In New York State, a lump sum payout after taxes would be approximately $305 million.

Shortly before 6pm, the New York State Lottery told WGRZ-TV that tickets were selling at the rate of $3.8 million per hour, which is more than six times the normal rate of sales for the Mega Millions game.

Click on the video player to the right to watch our report on the Brisk Sales for Mega Millions in WNY from Two On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bill Boyer.

Previously, the largest jackpot was $390 million, won by two players in Georgia and New Jersey in March 2007.Mega Millions is played in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There are no shortage of takers seeking to beat the 176 Million to one odds against winning the top prize on a single ticket play.

Those odds are much longer than:

-Being attacked by a shark (11.5 million to one), attaining Sainthood (20 million to one), The Buffalo Bills winning the Super Bowl in 2013 (currently at odds of 50-1) or scoring two holes in one during the same round of golf (100 million to one).

Many local restaurants and businesses around Western New York are seeing an increase in ticket sales. "Sales are great, actually. I worked the bar all day and every single customer who came in had to buy a ticket, at least one. Some people were buying five or ten dollars worth," said Melinda Ebeling, who works at Danny's in Orchard Park.

"If I were to win, I would buy Danny's and give myself the day off. Besides that, I would probably take a very lengthy vacation somewhere where it doesn't get snow," said Ebeling.

Others couldn't help but imagine what they would do with that kind of money. "I would buy a nice motor home, cruise the United States, and see everything," said Eden resident, Howard Goetterman.

"The only certainties in life are death and taxes," noted Joe Curatolo, a financial planner and Managing Executive of Georgetown Capital Group.

And Curatolo says one would be wise to be mindful of both when it comes to winning any large lottery jackpot.

"The federal taxes are about 35%, and New York State taxes would take another 8 to 8-1/2 %," he said. 

In most cases, if there's any safe bet at all, it would be for the winner--or winners -- to take their prize as a lump sum.

"If you take a 20 year payment and get hit by a bus in the fifth year, the government would expect your heirs to pay the inheritance taxes on all of the future payments which you would have earned within 9 months," Curatolo explained.

In some cases, the survivors of lottery winners (who did not take the lump sum option) have found themselves having to sell off the future payments to a buy out firm at a deeply discounted amount, just to cover the taxes they suddenly owe and cannot pay.

Here are some additional facts about lottery jackpots:

  • This is the 194th Mega Millions jackpot of $100 million or more, the 42nd jackpot of $200 million or more, and the 9th jackpot of $300 million or more and the 1st jackpot of $400 million or more.
  • The largest Mega Millions jackpot to date was the March 6, 2007 drawing for $390 million. Two players split the jackpot - one from Georgia and one from New Jersey.
  • Since the start of this jackpot(January 27), New York sales have been $116.7 million or 13.96% of the $836.5 million across all participating Mega Millions jurisdictions leading up to tonight's Mega Millions drawing. Aid to education from New York's ticket sales during the same time period total more than $40.86 million. 
  • Since May 17, 2002 (NY's first Mega Millions draw) total tickets sales in New York have been over $4.7 billion or 18.96% of $24.82 billion in all states.
  • Sales of New York's Mega Millions tickets have generated more than $1.647 billion for aid to education since inception.

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