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Three Winning Tickets For Record $60.8 Million Jackpot

October 31, 1988

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Three tickets were sold with the six numbers needed to win California’s $60.8 million lottery jackpot, the largest in the world, officials said Sunday.

Each of the tickets is worth a third of the jackpot. A pool of 15 hospital workers in San Diego County jubilantly claimed Sunday that it held one of the winning tickets. However, lottery spokesman Bob Taylor said he could not confirm that until the ticket stub is verified, probably on Monday.

The two other tickets with the six winning numbers were purchased in Westminster in Orange County and in Sacramento, Taylor said. Winners in those areas had not come forward.

Workers at Fallbrook Hospital told The Associated Press they went together to purchase $600 worth of tickets.

Carrie Dragon, a 38-year-old pharmacy technician, said she joined 13 nurses, lab technicians and other hospital employees, as well as a friend of one worker, in putting $40 each toward the tickets.

She said all agreed they would split what winnings came from the ″Quick Pick″ tickets. ″Quick Pick″ means that the numbers were selected at random by one of the computerized lotto terminals.

The tickets were purchased at a Circle K convenience store, she said. Lottery officials verified that the winning ticket in Fallbrook was purchased at a Circle K.

The hospital workers in the pool held a party to watch Saturday night’s drawing.

″The lady who found we had a winning ticket screamed,″ said Dragon. ″Everybody was just amazed. Then everybody started dreaming about what we were going to do with the money.

″I’m going to set up trust funds for my four kids and pay off bills,″ she said. ″But for Thanksgiving, we’re all going to go to Hawaii, or some place like that.″

She said the ticket was placed in a bank vault.

Lottery spokeswoman Susan Kossack said each winner will receive $20,296,175, a third of the $60,888,525 jackpot, in installments over 20 years. The installments will amount to $810,666 annually after taxes, she said.

If verified, the hospital pool ticket would be worth more than $67,600 annually before taxes for 20 years to each of the 15 people. The lottery pays out only to a single winner, the person holding the winning ticket. Arrangements for dividing the money would be the responsibility of the group.

Dragon said two hospital workers, Duff Stone and Charlie Jett, bought the tickets for the group. An unidentified woman who answered the telephone at Stone’s home said reporters would have to wait to talk to the winners at a lottery office on Monday.

The winning numbers selected in the televised Saturday night drawing were: 5, 20, 26, 28, 32, and 39. The bonus number was 3.

The jackpot was the world’s largest lottery prize, according to Taylor.

The previous world record jackpot was $56 million in Spain’s El Gordo lottery in 1983, according to Sam Valenza, publisher of Lottery Players magazine in Moorestown, N.J. But in Spain’s lottery, players don’t choose their numbers, which are already printed on tickets, and several winning entries are guaranteed in each of the five or six drawings held each year.

The previous North American record was a $55.16 million jackpot in a Florida lottery last month. That prize went to a single winner.

Saturday’s California drawing climaxed a week of frenzied lotto ticket buying throughout the state, with gamblers wagering about $106 million, Taylor said.

″All these figures are records,″ Kossack added.

Saturday’s sales hit $39.5 million, officials said. At 6:32 p.m. Saturday, the high sales point, more than 86,000 tickets were being sold each minute. In the heaviest hour, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, about 4.3 million of the $1 tickets were sold.

The Saturday jackpot soared because on Wednesday, for the fourth consecutive time, nobody picked the six winning numbers between 1 and 49. Wednesday’s $33.4 million jackpot was rolled over to the Saturday game and grew with each ticket sale.

Residents of Nevada, which has legalized gambling but no state lottery, accounted for some of the sales, officials said.

The busiest store Saturday was in the Sierra Nevada community of Truckee, 20 miles southwest west of Reno, Nev., with sales of $47,652.

For the week, the busiest retailer was a store in Baker, 80 miles southwest of Las Vegas, that has only one lotto sales terminal but logged $162,014 in sales.

Lottery tickets with five winning numbers plus the bonus number will pay $261,977 each to 29 players, while five numbers without the bonus will pay $3,742 each to 1,046 players, said Taylor.

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