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3 winners, over 100 million Mega Millions losers

By Jim Suhr

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:10 p.m. HST, Mar 31, 2012

RED BUD, Ill. >> The Mega Millions winners — at least three of them — stayed out of sight. The losers, who could number 100 million, had plenty to say Saturday about losing out on the world's largest-ever lottery jackpot and their dashed dreams of colossal wealth.

Journalists descended on convenience stores in Illinois and Maryland, and lottery officials there and in Kansas proudly proclaimed they sold winning tickets in the $640 million world record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot. The winners will earn $213 million before taxes. Three other ticket holders became millionaires.

But on the street, online and outside the stores where the winners had purchased their tickets, Americans grumbled about hopes that were raised, and then vanished. And they mused about what they would have done with the money.

"What do I do with this useless lottery ticket now?" Laurel Ashton Brooks of Greensboro, N.C., asked on Twitter.

As the jackpot got bigger by the hour on Thursday and Friday, Americans had snapped up tickets while dreaming of quitting jobs, paying off debts, building hospitals, buying an island. On Saturday, they took to Twitter and Facebook to bemoan their lost, razor-thin chance at millions.

"I knew that when I bought the ticket, that I wouldn't win. But I did it anyhow," said Sean Flaherty, a video game tester in New York City. "The whole notion of 'what if' still has some currency with me."

Even President Barack Obama's re-election campaign tapped into the widespread lottery letdown. It sent a fundraising email with the subject "Jackpot" that began: "Yeah, we didn't either. So we're still at."

All told, Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.

Illinois' winner used a quick pick — an automatically generated set of digits — to select the winning numbers at a convenience store in the small town of Red Bud, south of St. Louis, Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang said. The winning numbers also were purchased at a 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, Md., north of Baltimore, and somewhere in northeast Kansas.

"It's just unbelievable. Everyone is wanting to know who it is," said Denise Metzger, manager of the MotoMart where Illinois' winning ticket was sold.

"All day yesterday I was selling tickets and I was hoping someone from Red Bud would win. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this. I'm just tickled pink," added Metzger, whose store will receive $500,000 for selling the winning ticket, lottery officials said.

Paramedic Dan Parrott walked away from the store with $5 in winnings after checking numbers on his $40 worth of tickets. That won't pay for the new house, new car and the new ambulances he'd decided the jackpot would help him buy in this farming community of 3,700 about 40 miles south of St. Louis.

"I'd love to have all that money, but with all of that money comes responsibility," he said outside the store. "But it'd still be awesome."

James Sitzes emerged from the MotoMart where his check of his six plays flopped. "I bought them at the right place," he shrugged. "I just didn't have the right numbers."

"I've been thinking for years what I'd do with all that money," said Sitzes, 70. He'd pay off the house, invest the rest and give away his small plating shop.

In Maryland, TV cameras descended upon the 7-Eleven where the state's winning ticket was purchased. The harried manager repeatedly said "No interviews" to reporters pressing for details as customers pushed through the media crush for their morning coffee.

Nyeri Murphy, holding two scratch-off tickets, said she normally plays Powerball but drove to a nearby county to buy $70 worth of Mega Millions tickets this week. "I should have bought them here," she said.

Maryland does not require lottery winners to be identified; the Mega Millions winner can claim the prize anonymously. The store will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which was purchased Friday night.

The third winning ticket was purchased in northeast Kansas, but no other information would be released by the Kansas Lottery until the winner comes forward, spokeswoman Cara S. Sloan-Ramos said. The Kansas location that sold the ticket will receive $10,000.

No winner had contacted the agency by Saturday morning, Kansas Lottery Director Dennis Wilson said. "We sure want to meet the winner, but we want to tell them, sign the back of the ticket and secure it."

Kansas law also allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, though lottery winners in Illinois are identified.

The winning numbers in Friday night's drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.

Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett said the last time a ticket from the state won a major national jackpot was in 2008, when a ticket won for $24 million.

"We're thrilled," she said. "We're due and excited."

The holder of the winning ticket in Maryland has 182 days to come forward and claim the prize. Winners in Kansas and Illinois have up to one year; but if the Illinois winner wants to be paid in a lump sum, they have to come forward in 60 days, Lang said.

Even though just three tickets matched all the winning numbers, the jackpot made a millionaire of at least three other winners and gave a windfall to more than 100 others. Three ticket-holders won $1 million each, and 158 won $250,000 for matching the first five numbers drawn, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association in Urbandale, Iowa.

The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.

For some, the dreams were enough. Katie Kapczynski bought her first-ever lottery ticket with a roommate at a Washington, D.C., gas station. The attendant had to show her how to buy one.

"We kind of went more for the experience than the 'what if'," she said.

On Saturday morning, Kapczynski, a visitor services manager at the Newseum who was in New York on vacation, had left her $6 in tickets behind at home.

She still doesn't know if she won.


Associated Press reporters Jeffrey McMurray and Jason Keyser in Chicago, Kasey Jones in Milford Mill, Md., John Hanna in Topeka, Kan., Samantha Gross in New York, Margery Beck in Omaha, Neb., and Ed Donahue in Washington contributed to this report.

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st1d wrote:
10 27 28 50 56 mega ball 2
on March 30,2012 | 12:45AM
st1d wrote:
there went my dollar. time to pick up another 20 soda cans for the next big one.
on March 30,2012 | 10:51PM
olos73 wrote:
Saw a report that the winner in Maryland bought ONE ticket at a 7-Eleven store owned by Ethiopian immigrants. He/she gets $213 million, the store gets a bonus of about $100,000 plus 6-cents for every ticket they sold. So what Hawaii, you think if we had a lottery that we'll buy so many tickets that we can't feed our family and pay our bills? Get your heads out of the sand. Hawaii would get 35-cents from every ticket sold here. That's more than we get now...000
on March 31,2012 | 09:14AM
st1d wrote:
not only would hawaii get 35 cents from each ticket sold here, but the state would also collect a windfall tax payment from any local jackpot winner.
on March 31,2012 | 09:44AM
olos73 wrote:
Like I said, "That's more than we get now...000."
on March 31,2012 | 11:19AM
awsomeron wrote:
For some reason i can't figure out, I can't win. Maybe its because I can't play. Every other State except Utah has a Lottery and Utah has several boarder states you can go to and get tickets. That leaves Hawaii alone in the water with out a Lottery or the Tax Income from it. Yet we complain and cut Departments and Social Programs because of lack of Budget. As States have found out it is Not a cure all but it surely helps. The Winner makes money, the seller makes money, and the State makes money, the losers don't but they do not lose much either. I never Won a Grand Prize but 5 for a 1Dollar investment is not bad and a couple of times a Thousand Dollars give or take for a 1 Dollar Investment was surely not bad. $5 or $10 a week is chump change, just a Plate lunch. The odds are long but the odds are way longer if you can't play. In the past small wins have allowed to pay business rent and buy materiel with out using Credit Card Debt at 20%. You can afford a little Redwood or Mahogany in you display window which moves the Pine and Oak and unfinished stuff better. You can buy Pine in a kit but the finer woods only come custom fine materal cost money and tends to sit around for the right buyer so it was good to make it with money that did not really matter in the overall scheme of things.
on March 30,2012 | 01:55AM
frontman wrote:
And why shouldn't Hawaii be getting the benefits from multi state lotteries like this???? I forgot the Las Vegas lobbyist are buying off our fearless politicians.
on March 30,2012 | 01:51PM
olos73 wrote:
Saw somewhere on TV that the State gets 35-cents for every dollar spent on a ticket. The ticket seller gets 6-cents per ticket. So, if people in Hawaii bought one million tickets, it gets $350,000. Isn't it better than what we get now? ZERO. That's why Hawaii broke...
on March 30,2012 | 07:10PM
Bigwave12 wrote:
You hit the nail on the head....LV lobbyists, politicians, underworld, you name it...thet dont want gambling in Hawaii..It will reduce the place-loads of us that come to LV to pay our gambling taxes there. Funny, all the back door and underground gampbling here in Hawaii and we can't even opt for a legimite lottery that could generate some money for theos broke state
on March 31,2012 | 07:02AM
Notawannabe wrote:
You can buy lotto tickets online.
on March 31,2012 | 08:22AM
st1d wrote:
is that legal, i mean within the lottery rules. i remember seeing something about having to purchase the tickets in person if you want to cash it in. ju$t a$king for future knowledge.
on March 31,2012 | 09:41AM
olos73 wrote:
Saw somewhere that you have to be resident of that State. Not sure if it applies to all, though.
on April 1,2012 | 12:20PM
bigbud808 wrote:
i agree this sucks....hawaii polotics suck!We definitly need new blood w/realistic thinking. They say the poor going spend all their money...Give the poor more credit than that "Lucky Luck is what it is , Luck!" Every one will spend more than they should on the 1st time but after awhile you just give... like a donation for a possible chance to get lucky. Poor people know that if they were lucky .they wouldn't be poor.
on March 30,2012 | 05:44AM
olos73 wrote:
Agree with @bigbud808. Anti-gambling and lawmakers "think" the poor will spend all their money. If the poor bought fast food and soda, they would say it leads to obesity. If the poor bought drugs or cigarettes, they say it's bad for your health. Whose money is that? Theirs. Let them do what they want with it. Lawmakers waste taxpayers money whether we like it or not, so why can't taxpayers do what they want with "their" money? Even like what @awsomeron said, "just a plate lunch." Isn't most plate lunches bad for your health? But, I bet anti-gambling and lawmakers eat plate lunches and have been most of their lives here. Any winnings is taxed and the State gets revenue from that. That's why we are a "broke" State. Anti this and Anti that people and lawmakers think they are "doing good" for everybody else, but they aren't. From the Tuesday drawing when 47 people picked 5-out-of-6, they each got $250,000. So, many tickets share in the prize even if you don't hit all 6. How much of that is taken out for their State's tax revenue? Hawaii got and will keep getting "ZERO" until they legalize some type of gambling.
on March 30,2012 | 09:05AM
Bigwave12 wrote:
Good post!
on March 31,2012 | 07:04AM
bigbud808 wrote:
Sorry...lol..stuck on this subject can you imagine a 10 million pot w/10 one million dollar winners (residents only) and you win a free money managemnt course..We would be better than all the other states w/the bigger pots because ..we show Aloha to our winners. We would have 10 people from the state of Hawaii spending 4-5 hundred thousand per person in our economy...breathe this in ... immigrants would need to become citizens in order to play(of course they will try to cheat but it will be safer just to become legal.If they don't want to and want to live off of the state then they won't qualify if they win...why not? more jobs, people would be spending on building. State would take care of schools, infrastructures, roads, Ok l know all the haters going give me flak for what l think but hey it's only a wishful opinion
on March 30,2012 | 06:02AM
nomakeshame wrote:
Whatever happened with the point fixing allegations regarding the UH football team this past football season? That was probably more ammo for the anti-gambling people. Can you imagine if sports book wagering was legal in Hawaii? Hawaii would have to do what Nevada originally did and kept both Nevada and UNLV football and basketball teams off the boards for a number of years in hopes of ensuring fair play.
on March 30,2012 | 09:33PM
Bigwave12 wrote:
Just go down to Chinatown -- you can bet on whatever you like down there. Why not make it legal and tax it? Somebosys pockets are being lines with under da table dollars
on March 31,2012 | 07:07AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Our politicians are influenced by a pac (coalition against legalized gambling) that refuses to disclose where it receives its funding. No big deal for me - I bought my lotto tickets through a relative on the mainland. In the unlikely event that I win, I'll make sure that the Hawaii politicians do not get one red cent....
on March 30,2012 | 07:11AM
nomakeshame wrote:
Nevadans thanks you for spending your hard earned money their way in its state.
on March 30,2012 | 01:20PM
false wrote:
Yes I did contribute a whopping 2.8 cents to the Nevada state coffers. Just found out I didn't win but it was well worth the entertainment.
on March 30,2012 | 04:55PM
nomakeshame wrote:
Nevada doesn't have the lottery either, I was referring to Hawaii's constantly saying no to gambling, but yet referring to Las Vegas as the ninth island. Somebody in the Hawaii legislature needs to buy a clue.
on March 30,2012 | 09:22PM
Notawannabe wrote:
I just bought some tickets online at lottogopher.com.
on March 30,2012 | 08:08AM
Kealii wrote:
Ouch. Hope you didn't get taken for too much.
on March 30,2012 | 01:56PM
HD36 wrote:
I'll never win.
on March 30,2012 | 08:25AM
olos73 wrote:
Should be "we'll" never win, cuz Hawaii don't have it.
on March 30,2012 | 09:07AM
Grimbold wrote:
The chance to win is 1 in 170 million. You can buy 170 million tickets and then would have a chance to win. It would only take you 30 years to check your numbers.See how ridiculous it is to spend any time and any money to buy ?
on March 30,2012 | 12:21PM
nomakeshame wrote:
Wrong! The computer scanners can automatically check your tickets for you. That person that spent $2,600 in lottery tickets will just have to have those tickets scanned to see if he won. It should take about an hour. Even if people don't win the big one, they can still win varying amounts of money depending on how many numbers they catch. BTW, it is not any more ridiculous than someone jumping on a 5 hour plane ride, to Las Vegas, getting a hotel room, losing a majority of their money and flying back home to Hawaii empty handed, but hey, they had fun right?
on March 30,2012 | 01:18PM
entrkn wrote:
Hawaii should be in on this.
on March 30,2012 | 01:15PM
olos73 wrote:
Too many anti-gambling grumblers and dumb lawmakers. No chance of bringing in State revenue. All your hard earned money is "gambled away" by lawmakers on tax increases and hikes. Anti-gambling people would rather let the government take their money for taxes instead of letting gamblers/lottery ticket buyers keep more money in their pockets. How you figa?
on March 30,2012 | 02:03PM
iwanaknow wrote:
I told my kid on the Mainland to buy me a ticket....wish me luck.
on March 30,2012 | 03:36PM
LizKauai wrote:
For there to be a winner, there must be many losers...
on March 30,2012 | 06:55PM
lucky181 wrote:
The MD winner is 20 years old. He has posted his picture with the winning ticket to his public facebook and Southern Maryland News Net facebook. I guess when you're that young, keeping a low profile is hard to do.
on March 30,2012 | 11:48PM
GAC wrote:
hawaiii politicians are are a bunch of lolo . all for themselves. they say it will increase crime , guess what crime is here to stay. choose an island like big island and have casinos at all the resorts there. i bet you all these politicians all go to las vegas and deposit their monies there.
on March 31,2012 | 04:39AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Wow lucky me. Anybody want some money?
on March 31,2012 | 07:16AM
kainalu wrote:
All these posts wishing and hoping for a lottery. This specific lottery had a single day gain of over 100 million dollars. Imagine the thousands, if not millions of people that are seriously depressed today. Buy a single ticket, that's okay. Spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars trying to hit it big? You deserve to be depressed today.
on March 31,2012 | 10:01AM
olos73 wrote:
At least it's better than feeling depressed giving my money to the State. They can get small winnings if not hitting the big one. All we get from the State is more potholes, lost social services, rundown schools, pilau parks, need I go on?
on March 31,2012 | 11:24AM
olos73 wrote:
Now you see that 3 other people won $1 million each, and 158 won $250,000 each. And that wasn't the big prize. Look Hawaii, still can get money in your coffers for not hitting the big one.
on March 31,2012 | 01:13PM
primowarrior wrote:
Yeah, only three winners and 100 million losers, the odds of winning are astronomical, the odds are against you, etc. etc. But if those three winners had thought like that, they wouldn't be winners.
on March 31,2012 | 04:44PM
olos73 wrote:
Absolutely right...
on March 31,2012 | 06:07PM
st1d wrote:
there were 16,352,618 winning tickets in the last drawing of mega millions, including the 3 winners of the top prize. ratio of winning tickets to the usa population works out to about 1/21, assuming 350 million in the usa. silly numbers, though, as the odds of winning the top prize is still 1/175 million. still, 16,352,616 tickets were winners, as opposed to the misleading headline.
on March 31,2012 | 06:08PM
olos73 wrote:
Good post. Now, more people know that there's still a chance of winning SOMETHING. I would take a small win over nothing anyday. 3 other tickets won $1 million and 158 won $250,000 by picking 5 of the 6 numbers.
on April 1,2012 | 08:37AM
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