Last Updated: Thursday 24th January 2008, 10:20 am
A Powerball jackpot worth $97 million was won by a Louisiana Lottery player on Wednesday 16 January. The ticket was purchased in Metairie, which is the first suburb of New Orleans. The retailer that was lucky enough to sell the winning ticket will receive 1% of the State of Louisiana’s contribution to the jackpot prize or $25,000 if the 1% amounts to less than that.
Powerball is a multi-state lottery played in 29 states, the District of Colombia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Players have to pick 5 main numbers from the range 1 to 55 and 1 Powerball number from the range 1 to 42. If they match all main numbers plus the Powerball (the odds of doing this are 1 in 146,107,962) then they win the jackpot.
Although the Louisiana winner has yet to come forward, lottery officials in the “Pelican State” (a nickname deriving from the fact that the state bird is a pelican) are almost as excited as the jackpot ticket-holder must undoubtedly be. Lottery President Rose Hudson said: “This is an exciting and historical time for the Lottery, as we wait in anticipation for the winner to claim the prize at our Baton Rouge headquarters. In the meantime, the winner should treat the ticket as cash by signing the back of it for security purposes. Also, we recommend that all winners of substantial prizes seek professional financial advice prior to claiming their prize.”
As far as the winner is concerned, that professional advice will certainly involve a discussion about whether it would be more prudent to take the $97 jackpot as an annuity of thirty instalments over 29 years, or as a smaller lump sum of $48,478,863. The winner will also be considering whether or not to opt for publicity about their success.
Prior to Wednesday, the record for the largest lottery win in Louisiana stood at $48.1 million, which was won by Cathy DeMuynk and Jerry Berggren in March 2002. The new $97 million Powerball win is worth more than double that amount, so the new record could stand for quite some time.