The Powerball lottery is played across 45 US states and the record jackpot generated increased interest.
A person who bought a Powerball ticket in southern California has won a record-setting $2.04bn after more than three months without anyone hitting the top prize.
The winning numbers were selected on Tuesday morning in Tallahassee, Florida: white balls 10, 33, 41, 47 and 56, and the red Powerball was 10.
The winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California, a community northeast of Los Angeles, and the winner will receive what is far and away the largest lottery prize ever won.
The drawing was set to occur on Monday night but was delayed nearly 10 hours because of problems processing sales data at one of the game’s member lotteries, with officials saying that the security of the process was of paramount importance.
“Protecting the integrity of the draw is of upmost importance, and we were able to do that during this historic drawing with the cooperation of all participating lotteries,” said Drew Svitko, the chairman of the Powerball Product Group and executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
For selling the winning ticket, business owner Joe Chahayed will receive a maximum Powerball bonus of $1m. “I’m very surprised. Very excited. Very happy,” said Chahayed, who wore a bright yellow California Lottery shirt and cap.
Chahayed said he didn’t know who won the giant prize but hopes it’s someone local. “I wish I knew the person but most people who buy tickets from me are from the neighbourhood. I hope one of them will be the winner,” he said.
Chahayed said he would spend his $1m on his five children and donate some to the community.
Players pay to choose five numbers between 1 and 69, and a sixth number, between 1 and 26 – the “powerball”. If all six numbers picked match the ones chosen in the lottery drawing, the ticket holder wins the jackpot.
The game is played in 45 US states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“Powerball requires all 48 participating lotteries to submit their sales and play data prior to the winning numbers being selected. Once Powerball receives the outstanding submission, the drawing can proceed,” the Multi-State Lottery Association said in a statement.
The jackpot is nearly $400m larger than the previous record jackpot. Only four previous jackpots have topped $1bn, but none of those came close to today’s prize, which started at $20m back on August 6 and grew more and more massive over three winless months.
The winning numbers and recorded video of the drawing were posted to the Powerball website and YouTube channel.
The $2.04bn prize is for a winner who chooses an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners instead opt for cash, but the value of that option wasn’t immediately available Tuesday morning.
The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 292.2 million.