February 2, 2016
In a cynical effort to Boost sales of Powerball tickets, officials tweaked the rules to increase the size of jackpots. The idea came after previous unclaimed winnings resulted in huge pots that whetted the appetites of folks across America. The change increased the white numbers (the first five numbers on a ticket) while decreasing the amount of red numbers (the final number). This decreased the chance of winning a jackpot from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million. Surely Powerball bigwigs were optimistic about their gambit, anticipating weeks and weeks of unclaimed jackpots, increasing the pot and leading to ever-massive sales.
Or so they thought. As the old saying goes, someone’s gotta win sometime—and this time they did. There were plenty of winners who get to split the record-breaking $1.5 billion jackpot, and interestingly enough, many come from California. Meet a couple folks whose bank accounts are getting an infusion courtesy of Powerball.
The mystery man (or woman)
One of the jackpot tickets was purchased in the unassuming enclave of Chino Hills, California. And the winner is… we still don’t know (as of this writing, anyway). There’s a very savvy reason the jackpot winner hasn’t come forward yet—he or she needs to get their team ready. You wouldn’t head into the Superbowl without your best guys at your side, and financial experts say the same is true regarding unexpected wealth. Since this split of the jackpot is worth $528 million, expect the winner to take a few months to gather a team of advisors before going public.
Even those who chose five correctly but missed the red number still clean up—to the tune of around $638,146. 12 such winning tickets were sold in California alone. One lucky winner is Albert Graham, a 79-year-old Sacramento resident and retired concrete worker. He bought his ticket on a whim while at a gas station in Santa Cruz. He didn’t even find out about the win himself; his wife had to look up the draw on her iPad. And what is he planning on doing with his hundreds of thousands? “Probably give the money to my kids and grandkids. We might also take a trip to Hawaii.”
Hopefully the grandkids can at least give him a call on his birthday from here on out.