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Winner of $229M Powerball ticket sold Minnesota still a mystery

ST. PAUL Be nice to your fellow Minnesotan -- he or she could be the state's newest millionaire. Someone won a $228.9 million jackpot Wednesday from a Powerball lottery ticket bought at a Dakota County store. When the Minnesota State Lottery offi...

Powerball

ST. PAUL

Be nice to your fellow Minnesotan -- he or she could be the state's newest millionaire.

Someone won a $228.9 million jackpot Wednesday from a Powerball lottery ticket bought at a Dakota County store. When the Minnesota State Lottery office closed Thursday, the winner had yet to claim the prize.

"We're really excited for the player to come forward, as I know the general public and other players are," said Jenny Canfield, acting director for the state lottery.

The winning ticket has the numbers 11-18-36-41-46 and the Powerball of 38. Until the ticket is redeemed, lottery officials won't know whether the numbers were chosen by the player or the computer.

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This week's jackpot is the largest ever won by a single ticket in Minnesota.

The state's second-largest jackpot was in 2008 when Paul Rosenau, 54, of Waseca won $180.1 million from a ticket purchased at Hy-Vee in Faribault in Rice County.

The winner of this week's jackpot has up to a year from the date of the drawing to claim the prize, lottery officials said. The winnings can be paid in 30 annual payments totaling $228.9 million or the lump-sum option of $123.6 million, which would be $83.7 million after taxes are withheld. The annual payments would begin at $4 million and increase by 4 percent every year, reaching $12.7 million by the 30-year mark.

But first things first, said Debbie Hoffman, state lottery spokeswoman. The winner should immediately sign the ticket and keep it in a safe place

until he or she claims the jackpot.

Some winners come forward right away after the drawing. Others first consult with a financial or legal adviser, Canfield said.

The retailer that sold the winning ticket will get a $50,000 bonus. The lottery won't name the location until the winner comes forward.

Powerball is played in 44 states. Since its start 19 years ago, there have been 20 other jackpot winners from Minnesota. But the game is about to change.

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Starting Jan. 15, the price of Powerball tickets will increase from $1 to $2, Hoffman said. And there will be four fewer Powerball numbers to choose from, 1 to 35, instead of 1 to 39.

The jackpot will start at $40 million, up from the current $20 million. Also, players with tickets matching the first five numbers will win $1 million, up from $200,000.

Right now, the odds of winning the jackpot are one in 195,249,054. The new rules will improve the odds of winning -- to one in 175.2 million.

"What this game is going to do is offer more for players," Hoffman said. "A larger starting jackpot, better overall odds and more millionaires."

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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