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Ticket Sold in Ohio Hits $155M Jackpot

December 31, 2003

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio (AP) _ One ticket sold in Ohio won a multistate Mega Millions lottery jackpot worth $155 million, lottery officials said Wednesday.

The ticket for Tuesday’s drawing, sold at a convenience store in this Cleveland suburb, was the only one to match all five numbers and the Mega Ball number, said Mardele Cohen, spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery.

When redeeming the ticket, the winner may choose between an immediate cash payout of $90 million before taxes or $155 million over 26 years, Cohen said. It is the biggest lottery prize ever in Ohio, which joined the Mega Millions lottery in 2002.

Lottery officials were waiting for the winner to come forward.

The state’s previous record jackpot was $75 million, won by 50 Hoover Co. workers in 2002 in the Ohio Super Lotto Plus.

Jagdish Shah, owner of Quick Shop Food Mart, where the ticket was sold, learned about the prize when he arrived to open about 7 a.m. Wednesday and his parking lot was full of reporters and television station trucks.

``I saw that, and I was scared. I thought something happened,″ Shah said. He wins $100,000 and a cruise for selling the ticket, Cohen said.

The ticket holder might be waiting until New Year’s Day or after to claim the prize to allow more time for tax planning, Cohen said. Winnings collected Wednesday would count as 2003 income.

``Some people who win big jackpots need the time to plan what they’re going to do,″ she said.

Mega Millions is played in Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington state.

The winning numbers from Tuesday night’s drawing were 12, 18, 21, 32 and 46. The Mega Ball number was 49.

The biggest single-ticket winner in the world is Jack Whittaker Jr. of West Virginia. He won a $314.9 million jackpot in December 2002 in the Powerball, the other big multistate lottery, which is played in 24 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball also has an eye-popping jackpot this week. After several drawings with no winner, Wednesday night’s drawing is expected to be worth $210 million.


On the Net:

Mega Millions: http://www.theofficialbiggame.com/default.asp

Powerball: http://www.powerball.com/pb(underscore)home.asp

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