The winner of the US$2.04 billion Powerball, the world’s biggest ever lottery prize, is keeping schtum — for now.
Little is known about the anonymous Californian, save that they walked into Joe’s Service Center, a gas station in Altadena, north of Pasadena in the greater Los Angeles area, and bought a lotto ticket with the numbers 10, 33, 41, 47 and 56, with the additional Powerball number 10 sometime last week.
The winning ticket was drawn on Tuesday after a 10-hour delay, because of late reporting by one of the affiliated 45 US state lotteries, which make up the Powerball consortium.
The winner can take the total US$2.04 billion prize money (£1.77bn) in equal pay-outs over 30-years — or grab “a-bird-in-the-hand” one-off payment of US$997.6 million (£868.45m).
The latter seems the most probably, as no Powerball winner has chosen annual payments since 2014.
The rollover jackpot started at $US20 million (£17.41m) in August, and grew to the massive total over three months. The winning ticket cost US$2 at odds of one-in-292 million.
Joseph Chahayed, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, is also celebrating because he gets a million dollars for selling the ticket.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” he told a local TV channel. “My son is expecting a baby in two months, so we are excited. I have ten grandchildren. [Now] we can have a nice celebration for another baby.”
There were also 22 other million-dollar winners on Tuesday, who matched five numbers — but without the Powerball number.
The previous record win on the Powerball lottery was US$1.586 billion (£1.38bn) in 2016 and was shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee states.
Powerball now resets to its relatively modest starting sum of US$20 million for its next thrice-weekly picks.
Meantime, spare a thought for the record billionaire winner.
California law dictates that the state has to release the name of people who win lottery prizes after they come forward, to guarantee honesty and transparency.
Although anticipating a media scrum and an avalanche of begging letters when the secret billionaire finally breaks cover, one can’t imagine we’ll be facing a case of buyer’s regret anytime soon.