$1.35 billion Mega Millions lottery ticket purchased at southern Maine gas station
Someone bought a winning lottery ticket worth $1.35 billion at the Hometown Gas and Grill in Lebanon, Maine. But who that person is and where they are from has not yet been revealed.
It's the second largest Mega Millions jackpot in history, and the first time Maine has produced a jackpot winner.
"We're hoping it's a local resident, someone we know," said Hometown Gas and Grill owner Fred Cotreau. "We have a pretty good community here in our small town, so we're hoping a local person won."
Cotreau said he took a call at 6 a.m. Saturday from someone claiming to be from the Maine State Lottery, telling him that his store had sold the winning jackpot ticket.
"The next thing I thought was he's going to ask for my Social Security number because I thought it was a scam," he said.
Gregg Mineo, director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, said the person with the winning ticket has up to 12 months to turn it in.
"You can imagine what they're going through right now, that family, that individual ... I'm sure they're reeling and thinking about what their next steps might be," Mineo said during a virtual news conference.
His advice to the winner is to claim the prize safely and responsibly, get legal and tax advice and consult with family members before coming forward. But most importantly, he said, is to first lock the ticket away.
The winner could choose to remain anonymous and have a representative of a trust show up at the Maine Lottery Commission's office in Augusta to claim the prize. Mineo said after 12 months, if no one comes forward, the unclaimed winnings go back into the prize pool.
The Mega Millions jackpot has a cash value worth approximately $724.6 million before federal and state taxes. According to Mineo, most people choose the cash option rather than an annuity.
The state will receive $2 million in profit that goes to the general fund. Maine lottery retailers, 1,200 of them, will also share in the bounty. They get a 5% sales commission, which Mineo says is worth $340,000 to be split among them.
On top of the commission, Hometown Gas and Grill will receive a $50,000 bonus.
"We're just happy for the whole state of Maine and we're thrilled for the Hometown Gas and Grill and Lebanon," Mineo says. "You just never know when something like this may happen."
A single winning ticket holder matched all six numbers drawn in the Mega Millions Friday night: white balls 30, 43, 45, 46 and 61, plus the gold Mega Ball 14.