PIERRE, S.D. - A lucky someone in South Dakota's capital city bought the $116.8 million winning Powerball ticket for Wednesday night's drawing, but had yet to come forward early Thursday.
South Dakota Lottery officials said the ticket was sold in Pierre but that they had not been contacted by the winner.
The winning ticket matched all six numbers in the multistate lottery game. Those numbers were 15, 17, 24, 26 and 35. The Powerball number was 38.
Norm Lingle, executive director of the South Dakota Lottery, said the odds of winning the jackpot were 1-in-146 million.
"It's the largest lottery prize ever won in South Dakota," he said.
It's not unusual for lottery winners to wait for a while before bringing in their tickets for validation, which will take three or four hours, Lingle said.
"There's very, very few people that would be able to take this money and know how to proceed."
"This type of jackpot winner is certainly a life-changing situation," he said. "I'm sure the chatter is going throughout all of the offices in Pierre and throughout all of the coffee shops in Pierre today, trying to find out who is the holder of the winning ticket."
The largest Powerball jackpot won in South Dakota in the past was $101 million, which was shared in February 2003 by 34 Watertown factory workers and a winner in Indiana. The Watertown group received $50.9 million in that drawing.
The state's previous second largest jackpot of $12.4 million was awarded in 1991, when Ionia Klein won Lotto America, a forerunner to Powerball. She was a clerk in a Gregory convenience store where the winning ticket was issued, and Klein later split the jackpot with the store owners after a legal dispute.
The person holding the winning ticket from Wednesday's Powerball drawing should sign it immediately, put it in a safe place and contact the lottery office, Lingle said.
"We also encourage the winner to get professional advice from an attorney and a financial adviser," he added.
"They're going to be inundated with relatives," Lingle said. "They're going to be inundated with requests for donating to various causes."
The winner has 180 days to claim the jackpot and will have the option of getting the $116.8 million prize in 29 annual payments or taking it in a $51.6 million lump sum.
Lingle said the lottery office is obligated to withhold 25 percent of the winnings and turn it over to the Internal Revenue Service.
The business that sold the winning ticket will get a $50,000 bonus, said Mike Mueller, state lottery advertising and public relations director. He said 17 businesses sell lottery tickets in the capital.
If the jackpot is not claimed within the allotted 180 days, the money is distributed to lottery offices on a pro rata scale, based on ticket sales in all states that feature the Powerball game, Lingle said. That money is then plowed into future lottery prize offerings in those states, he said.
Large lottery prizes rarely go unclaimed, Lingle said. But he said smaller-tier prizes often are not claimed within the allowable redemption period.
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