Who won the Mega Millions jackpot?
April 1, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Three lottery players in three states will split the largest lottery prize in history. The jackpot originally was estimated to be $640 million, but it jumped to $656 million, and one of the Mega Millions tickets was sold at a gas station in Red Bud, Ill., near St. Louis.
Sunday morning, people in that town were abuzz trying to figure out who among them might be a millionaire many times over.
In a town of less than 4,000 people, you'd think news would travel fast, but no one has come forward yet.
The winning check was presented to the staff at the Red Bud Motomart, where the ticket was purchased, but it wasn't claimed Saturday. Still, the store is still awarded $500,000 for selling the winning ticket, and the employees can barely contain their excitement. They are getting a lot of attention this weekend.
"I didn't believe it. All week long, I was saying I just wished somebody from Red Bud would win. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that it would really happen," Motomart Manager Denise Metzger said.
"This is what the lottery is about. You risk a small amount of money, and it's long odds, and it happens to a person who walks into a Motomart in Red Bud, Illinois that wins $213 million," Illinois State Lottery Dir. Mike Jones said.
The other winning tickets were sold in Maryland and Kansas. Each ticket is expected to be worth $213 million before taxes. The winners will have a full year to claim their prizes, but the lump sum option is only available for 60 days.
Maryland and Kansas do not require lottery winners to be identified, but Illinois does. It appears we'll have to wait and see when that person or people claim their big winnings.
Twelve second prize-winning tickets were sold across in the Chicago area. They're each worth $250,000. One winner purchased the ticket at a North Side 7-Eleven.
During the rush to buy tickets, more than 33,000 tickets were sold a minute. Nationwide, the numbers were staggering.
"Around the country, we were selling tickets at the rate of about a million dollars a minute," sid Mega Millions Dir. Gary Grief.
But for most, the purchase ended in disappointment.
"I hit one number, 38. That was it," lottery player Brian Wesley said.
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