Three tickets match winning numbers for $193 million lottery |

Three tickets match winning numbers for $193 million lottery

SIMON AVERY, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The morning after at least three lottery players landed shares of the biggest single-state jackpot in history, the only winners who were talking were the store owners who sold the tickets.

The three winning SuperLotto Plus tickets, which are each worth $64.3 million before taxes, were sold at an Albertsons in Half Moon Bay and 7-Eleven stores in Orange and Montebello, California lottery officials said Sunday.

No one had stepped forward to claim the prize Sunday morning, and the Presidents Day holiday means the winners will have to wait until Tuesday to present their tickets to lottery officials.

The buying frenzy for a shot at the $193 million jackpot peaked Saturday night, when hopefuls snapped up a record $6 million worth of tickets an hour.

“There’s a lot more excitement around a mega jackpot like this. You pretty much have interest from around the world,” said Norma Minas, a lottery spokeswoman. She was fielding media calls from as far away as Germany and Japan Sunday morning.

Owners of the three lucky stores will receive $321,666 each for selling the winning tickets. The stores were buzzing with excitement and well-wishers Sunday morning, but the winners stayed away.

Byron Bennett, owner of the Montebello 7-Eleven on West Beverly Boulevard, learned his store had sold a winning ticket through a 5 a.m. phone call.

“I thought at first it might be my friend playing a little trick on me,” said Bennett, who will split the winnings with the convenience store chain. “My wife couldn’t believe I was so calm.”

After selling a $77,000 scratch-and-win ticket three weeks ago, Bennett said, “We’re on a roll.”

At the Albertsons on San Mateo Road in Half Moon Bay, manager Israel Villegas said employees were double-checking their own ticket numbers just in case.

“We don’t know anything about (the winner) yet,” Villegas said. “Nobody has showed up.”

In Orange, at the 7-Eleven on South Main Street, clerk Devinder Illa said his manager was in Las Vegas and hadn’t even heard the news.

Minas, who talks to each Lottery winner when they come to claim their prize, said the latest winners will probably have some sleepless and anxious nights before receiving their money.

The $193 million sum was the largest single-state U.S. jackpot, and the fifth-largest including multistate games, the California Lottery said. The biggest lottery payout in U.S. history was $363 million in May 2000 for the multistate Powerball game.

The previous record jackpot in California was $141 million on June 23, 2001, won by Al Castellano of San Jose.

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