CHARLESTON, S.C. - The winner of a nearly $400 million Powerball jackpot has declined to be named, lottery officials said on Monday, but they said the winner who lives near Columbia, South Carolina, told them he bought the ticket while on a mission to buy hot dog buns.
The man stopped at a gasoline station in central South Carolina after his wife asked him to pick up the hot dog buns, but after finding they had none, he bought $20 of Powerball tickets instead, the officials said.
His big win late on Wednesday - the fourth-largest prize in the lottery's history - occurred on just the second time he had purchased tickets, the man told lottery officials.
"This is a life changing event - there are a lot of zeros in this money," Paula Harper Bethea, executive director of the South Carolina Education Lottery, had said last week while the winner remained unknown.
When he came forward on Monday afternoon, the man, who asked not be identified, told lottery officials that he was home alone when he discovered on Thursday that he won. He spun around repeatedly in his kitchen and told only his little dog about his good fortune, lottery officials said.
The man can claim his full prize of $399.4 million paid over 29 years or opt for a more immediate cash payout of $233 million, officials said.
For the state of South Carolina, the jackpot win means an additional $15 million in tax revenue, officials said. The lottery benefits education in the state, they said.
Murphy USA gasoline station in Lexington, South Carolina, where the man bought the machine-generated winning ticket on Wednesday afternoon will be rewarded $50,000 for its role, lottery officials said.
Powerball prizes have been getting larger, in part because the ticket price rose to $2 from $1 in January, and because California, the most populous U.S. state, joined in April.
Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the big prize are 1 in 175 million, the lottery said.
The largest Powerball jackpot was $590.5 million, won by a Florida woman in May. Ticket holders in New Jersey and Minnesota shared a $448 million jackpot in August.
The amounts paid to the winners were substantially smaller because they chose cash over an annuity.