Luckier than lightning: Powerball trio strikes it rich with $448 million jackpot

Posted at 2:48 PM, Aug 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-08 16:48:53-04

By Ben Brumfield and Phil Gast


(CNN) — A Minnesota man hit the jackpot, literally.

Paul White of Ham Lake, Minnesota, stepped forward Thursday to claim one-third of a $448 million Powerball jackpot, according to the Minnesota State Lottery.

The other two winning ticket-holders have not stepped forward. The two tickets were sold in New Jersey, one at a Super Stop n Shop in South Brunswick and the other at an Acme Market in Little Egg Harbor, Carole Hedinger, the executive director of the New Jersey Lottery, told reporters Thursday.

White, a project engineer at Elliott Contracting in Minneapolis, said he’s imagined winning the Powerball jackpot “so many times in my head.”

That dream became a reality when White got a telephone call Thursday morning from a friend telling him one of the winning tickets was sold in Minneapolis.

His ticket matched the winning numbers: 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball number 32.

Though he could have chosen to receive $149.4 million over 30 years, he said he chose the immediate cash option of $86 million, which will net him $58.3 million after taxes.

White bought the winning ticket at the Holiday Stationstore in Ham Lake, north of Minneapolis, he said.

The odds of getting hit by lightning in any given year are about one in 500,000. You are about 350 times LESS likely to win the Powerball lottery.

The odds of cracking one that big?

Who knows and who cares, when you’re splitting the equivalent of about the net worth of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, according to Forbes magazine?

Giant U.S. lottery jackpots have been coming more frequently, observers say.

“You could see maybe in the next several years … an elusive billion-dollar jackpot,” said Victor Matheson, economics professor at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

Had no one won Wednesday evening, the prize would have swollen to an estimated $600 million for Saturday’s drawing, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. With the winning tickets, the jackpot falls to $40 million.

The all-time largest U.S. jackpot was $656 million in the Mega Millions game in March 2012. That was split among three tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

Powerball is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A single ticket costs $2.

White is Minnesota’s 22nd Powerball jackpot winner since Powerball began in 1992, according to the Minnesota State Lottery.

CNN’s Tom Foreman contributed to this report.

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