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2 tickets in Arizona, Missouri strike gold in record Powerball jackpot

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 6:32 a.m.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two lucky ticket holders — one in Arizona and another in Missouri — are waking up Thursday to new lives as multimillionaires after the largest Powerball jackpot drawing ever.

Powerball officials said two tickets matched all six numbers to win the record $587.5 million jackpot. The numbers drawn for Wednesday night for the second-highest jackpot in U.S. lottery history are 5, 16, 22, 23, 29. The Powerball is 6.

It was not clear whether the winning tickets belonged to individuals or were purchased by groups.

One of the winning tickets was sold in the Kansas City area but the winner has yet to come forward, Missouri Lottery spokesman Gary Gonder said. The ticket holder has 180 days to claim the prize.

Gonder said he would visit the store that sold the winning ticket to help with an expected onslaught of media attention. No details on that store have been released.

Arizona lottery officials said early Thursday they had no information on the Grand Canyon State's winner or winners, but they planned to announce Thursday morning where the ticket was sold.

Americans went on a ticket-buying spree in the run-up to Wednesday's drawing, the big money enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.

Tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide — about six times the volume from a week ago. That pushed the jackpot even higher, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neumauer said the jackpot was estimated at $587.5 million by early Thursday, adjusted slightly upward from the $579.9 million estimate at the time of the drawing. The cash payout was $384.7 million.

Among those who had been hoping to win was Lamar Fallie, a jobless Chicago man who said his six tickets conjured a pleasant daydream: If he wins, he plans to take care of his church, make big donations to schools and then “retire from being unemployed.”

The jackpot had already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner, but Powerball officials said Wednesday they believed there was a 75 percent chance the winning combination would be drawn this time.

Some experts had predicted that if one ticket hit the right numbers, chances were good that multiple ones would. That happened in the Mega Millions drawing in March, when three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot, which remained the largest lottery payout of all time. And it happened again for Wednesday's Powerball drawing.

Yvette Gavin, who sold the tickets to Fallie, is only an occasional lottery player herself, but she said the huge jackpot compelled her to play this time. As for the promises she often gets from ticket purchasers, Gavin isn't holding her breath.

“A lot of customers say if they win they will take care of me, but I will have to wait and see,” she said.

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