January 5, 2011 in City, Idaho

Ephrata lottery winner comes forward

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Betsy Russell photo

Kevin Anderson of Melba won a $250,000 prize in the MegaMillions lottery drawing, by matching all five numbers but not the additional “mega-ball.” Here, he laughs after receiving his check at the Idaho Lottery office in Boise. Two other winners hit the big prize - $190 million each - one in Post Falls, and one in Ephrata, Wash. At left is Sherie Moody-St. Clair, the Idaho Lottery’s creative director.
(Full-size photo)

BOISE – The Inland Northwest could soon see a mega windfall.

Both winning tickets in the $380 million Mega Millions Lottery were sold here – one in Post Falls and the other in the Grant County town of Ephrata, Wash, lottery officials announced Wednesday. Each ticket is worth $190 million.

The Ephrata winners came forward today. Washington Lottery Communications Director Scott Kinney said the Washington ticket was sold to a retired man who plans to bring his family to Olympia to claim his winnings Thursday.

The Idaho winners have not yet stepped forward - they have 180 days to do so.

“With large winners like this, people don’t pop in the next day,” said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. “They have things to take care of.”

However, one smaller winner already has been named – Kevin Anderson of Melba, Idaho matched all five numbers but not the mega-ball, and won a $250,000 prize.

“I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get the mega-ball, but then I was like, ‘But I matched five,’” the construction superintendent said. “We were dancing around.”

He said, “It made going to work so much easier today. I told my boss, if it’d been one more number, you would’ve gotten my resignation.”

Anderson said he was out of work for two years, so most of his winnings will go to pay bills, but he and his wife are contemplating buying a new car. His check, after taxes, totaled $168,000.

He was one of 67 people nationwide to match five numbers; more than 5.5 million others won smaller prizes ranging from $2 to $10,000.

But the big news is the big jackpot. It was advertised at $355 million, but because of frenzied sales in anticipation of the big payoff, it jumped up higher, to roughly $380 million. The two big winners will split that amount.

The Ephrata, Wash. winning ticket was sold at a Safeway supermarket, where a stream of shoppers on Wednesday flocked to the video department where lottery tickets are sold, to check their tickets and then turn away in disappointment.

“We know as much as anyone else does,” said Nathan Arlantico, 21, the video department manager. He said the store was busy with lines of potential millionaires buying tickets all day Tuesday.

Lottery officials in Idaho aren’t releasing the store at which the Post Falls ticket was sold until the winner comes forward.

The $190 million figure is the amount each of the two winners will get if they take 26 payments over 25 years. When they come forward, they also have the option of a lump sum of $120 million. After both federal and state income taxes in Idaho, that would end up being a payout of almost $81 million.

The overall jackpot is the second largest in U.S. history. The largest came in March 2007, when two winners in Georgia and New Jersey shared a $390 million Mega Millions jackpot.

The drawing in the multi-state game drew huge interest across the country as thousands of people lined up to buy tickets in 41 states and Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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