Single winning ticket sold for record lottery jackpot

By Karen A. Davis Associated Press Writer
Monday June 25, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO – The largest single-state jackpot in U.S. history has a winner. 

A single ticket was sold with all six winning numbers — three, 22, 43, 44 and 45 and Mega number eight. That ticket was bought at Union Avenue Liquors in San Jose, Calif., lottery officials said. The winner has 180 days to claim the record jackpot. 

Liquor store owner Alex Wang, 56, will receive about $705,000 — or one-half of one percent of the total jackpot — if the winning ticket is confirmed, said lottery spokesman Sid Ramirez. 

“I couldn’t believe it, but it looks like it’s true,” Wang said. Wang, who moved to the U.S. from Taiwan in 1970, has owned the liquor store for 27 years. 

He has no immediate plans for the money he won for selling the winning ticket at his store, although he said he may buy a new home. 

“First, I’ll probably put it in the bank.” 

Ramirez and other lottery officials were at Wang’s store Sunday to tie up some legal loose ends. 

“As part of our security system that’s been in place ever since the lottery began, we take the (lottery ticket) machine to make sure there has been no tampering or malfunctions of sorts,” Ramirez said. 

He said lottery officials will return to Wang’s store in three to four weeks with his check. Officials will then give Wang special banners to hang at his store saying “this store made a million dollar winner.” 

By 7 p.m. Saturday, ticket sales boomed and the record prize grew to $141 million. Sales were about $43 million Saturday alone, with 84,000 tickets sold every minute in the last hours before the 7:58 p.m. drawing — this despite the fact that the chance of winning was one in 41 million. 

The huge prize built up during the past month as nine drawings came and went without a winner. 

The largest previous single-state lottery prize before the current record jackpot was $118.8 million in 1991, that also in California. The jackpot has exceeded $100 million only three times in the entire history of lotto. 

Ramirez said this winning jackpot raised $80 million for public schools in the state. 

If no one comes forward to claim the record-breaking jackpot, that money will also be handed over to public education.