FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (AP) — A liquor store in a tiny California mountain town reverberated with excitement Thursday after word that the winning ticket for a $1.765 billion Powerball jackpot was sold there.
The drawing Wednesday night ended a long stretch without a winner of the top prize and brought news media to Midway Market & Liquor in Frazier Park, a community of 2,600 residents about 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.
“That’s the most exciting news ever (to) happen to Frazier Park,” said store co-owner Nidal Khalil.
The winner had not come forward to him, he said, adding that he hoped it is one of his regular customers. Most are local retirees, he said.
The winning numbers were: 22, 24, 40, 52, 64 and the Powerball 10. In California, winners’ names must be disclosed. The store will receive a $1 million reward for selling the lucky ticket.
Clerk Janea Herrera at first thought it was a joke when she was told the winning ticket was sold at the store 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) from the nearest interstate, She said she had no idea who bought the ticket but noted that most customers are local regulars.
“We’re not that close to the freeway so you have to go out of your way to come here,” Herrera said.
“It’s a tightknit community, everybody knows each other,” she said, describing Frazier Park as “pretty quiet, beautiful, you can see the stars at night.”
Before someone won the giant prize, there had been 35 consecutive drawings without a big winner, stretching back to July 19 when a player in California matched all six numbers and won $1.08 billion. The latest streak trailed the record of 41 draws set in 2021 and 2022.
Final ticket sales pushed the jackpot beyond its earlier advertised estimate of $1.73 billion, making it the world’s second-largest lottery prize. The only top prize that was ever bigger was the $2.04 billion Powerball won by a player in California last November.
Powerball’s terrible odds of 1 in 292.2 million are designed to generate big jackpots, with prizes becoming ever larger as they repeatedly roll over when no one wins. Wins in recent months have been few and far between.
That didn’t bother those eager to plunk down their money ahead of Wednesday’s drawing for a long shot at instant wealth.
Robert Salvato Jr., a 60-year-old electrician, bought 40 Powerball tickets at a hardware store in Billerica, Massachusetts.
“I would take care of family and give my cat that extra leg that she needs and make her a good kitty,” said Salvato, who got married on Saturday.
“I could give her a ring on every finger, I guess,” Salvato said of his new wife.
Nevada is among the five states without Powerball, so friends Tamara Carter and Denise Davis drove from Las Vegas to California to buy tickets. The line was so long at their first stop that they went in search of another store.
“The line was about three hours long,” Carter estimated. “I was waiting for maybe a half hour, and it didn’t move.”
In most states, a Powerball ticket costs $2 and players can select their own numbers or leave that task to a computer.
The $1.765 billion jackpot is for a sole winner who opts for payment through an annuity, doled out over 30 years. Winners almost always take the cash option, which was estimated at $774.1 million.
Winnings would be subject to federal taxes, and many states also tax lottery winnings.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Jim Salter in St. Louis, Rodrique Ngowi in Billerica, Massachusetts, and Ty O’Neil in California, near Primm, Nevada, contributed to this report.