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$216M Mega Millions lottery winner is from New Jersey

Mar 4, 2009, 11:11 am

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Mega Millions

California second-prize winner wins $1M 'mini-jackpot'

Once again, the Garden State got lucky, as a single ticket sold in Ocean County grabbed last night's $216 million Mega Millions annuity windfall.

Since 2004, New Jerseyans have won more than $1 billion in Mega Millions jackpots.

The payout in cash — the usual option — would be about $140.6 million.  Before 25 percent gets snatched for federal taxes, of course.  The good news on the tax front is that unlike many other states, New Jersey does not impose state tax on lottery prizes.

The winning numbers were 26, 32, 35, 43 and 52, with a Mega Ball of 10.  The Texas Megapllier number was 4.

Nineteen tickets sold in eight other states came close, missing only the Mega Ball to nab a prize of $250,000 each:  1 from California, 1 from Georgia, 2 from Illinois, 4 from Michigan, 5 from New York, 3 from Ohio, 2 from Texas, and 1 from Virginia.

The California second-prize winner, however, will receive a prize of $1,029,057 before taxes, because California is the only state to award all the Mega Millions pari-mutuel.  Sometimes that policy awards less than the other states, and sometimes it awards more, but this time it awarded a lot more. 

Since there was no second-prize winner in California last drawing, the $440,146 set aisde for second-prize rolled into this drawing's second-prize.  The total prize pool for each prize level in California is divided by the number of winners at that level, and because there was just one second-prize winner in this drawing, the lucky ticket-holder is awarded the entire prize pool.

The New Jersey jackpot-winning ticket macthing all the Mega Millions numbers was sold at Singin Oil in Toms River. The gas station will get a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket, whose value was revised upward by $4 million this morning.

A manager at the station declined to comment, saying he was too busy.

The big win follows two other tickets in the region striking it rich on Saturday.

Half of a $174 million Powerball jackpot will go to someone who bought a ticket at Plymouth Meeting Mall.  The other half is earmarked for a patron of Benbow's Package Store in Dover, Del.

No word, as of this morning, about the identities of those winners.

Tonight's new Powerball jackpot is worth $20 million.

New Jersey, one of a dozen Mega Millions states, has a history of hitting major jackpots.

  • In December, the Lopes family of Union County claimed a $126 million jackpot.
  • The December before, a group of Morris County educators won half of a $163 million prize.
  • In August 2007, a Cape May County couple won a quarter of a $330 million jackpot, one of the largest U.S. jackpots ever.
  • The biggest U.S. jackpot ever — worth $390 million — was split by another Cape May County couple and a Georgia man in March 2007.
  • In September 2005, a Bergen County couple nabbed $258 million, the biggest single payout in state history.
  • And that's not to mention another half-dozen Jersey-won jackpots worth under $50 million.

Counting last night's win, the annuity value of Jersey's jackpots tops $1 billion.  In cash, the total would be closer to $500 million.

And that's not all.  In May 2004, a North Jersey couple won a Powerball jackpot of $213 million by buying a ticket in Bucks County. (They opted for the $110 million cash.)

Pennsylvania's been on a bit of a roll as well. The Powerball jackpot is the fourth won in the state since August.

The Mega Millions jackpot goes back to $12 million for Friday's drawing.

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