March 7, 2012

USA: 81-year-old woman wins record lottery cash jackpot

NEWPORT, Rhode Island / Reuters / March 6, 2012


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An 81-year-old Rhode Island woman came forward on Tuesday to claim a $336.4 million PowerBall prize, the third biggest jackpot in the game's history, lottery officials said.

Louise White, right, 81 from Newport, R.I., is presented a check for $336 million by Gerald Aubin, left, director of the state's lottery, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee, center, at Rhode Island Lottery headquarters. 
Louise White kept her identity secret for weeks after buying the lucky ticket at a Stop & Shop grocery store in Newport, Rhode Island. Her lucky picks won the jackpot by matching all five numbers plus the PowerBall number in a February 11 drawing.

White will take the prize home in one lump sum payment of$210 million, the highest cash jackpot ever, lottery officials said.

"I'm very happy and I'm very proud and this will make my family very happy. We are truly blessed," White, a Newport resident, said during a brief appearance at a press conference.

This is the largest jackpot win in Rhode Island.

White purchased the ticket on a trip to the supermarket the night of the drawing when a family member wanted some rainbow sherbet dessert, according to a statement from the winner.

White kept the winning ticket in her Bible the night after the drawing and later in a safe deposit box.

Representatives helping White with financial planning offered few details about her family, life in Rhode Island or how she might spend the money. White claimed the prize through The Rainbow Sherbert Trust.

PowerBall is played in 42 states, Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands, according to the game's website.

The state of Rhode Island stands to benefit from the big win, too.

Governor Lincoln Chafee, who helped present the check to White, said the state will get $14.7 million and the federal government will receive $52.5 million in taxes.

PowerBall began in April 1992 and the game was recently revamped to offer $2 tickets. The largest PowerBall jackpot was in 2006 for $365 million, according to lottery officials

The odds of winning the PowerBall jackpot are roughly 1 in 175 million.

(Reporting By Lauren Keiper; Editing by Greg McCune)

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