While lottery officials in North Carolina and Texas said they're thrilled that residents of their states beat 175 million-to-1 odds to share the fifth-biggest U.S. jackpot ever, they offered this advice Thursday: Keep the ticket safe, and take your time.
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers Powerball, said the third winning ticket was sold Wednesday in Puerto Rico. The winners have 180 days to come forward to claim their prizes, worth $127 million as a lump sum before taxes.
"Personally, I hope this winner takes that time to get their financial house in order," said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery Commission. He said the winner or winners — who bought the ticket in Princeton, near McKinney, and haven't been identified — are already seeking legal and financial advice.
Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, said winners are dealing with "a life-changing event." And while "we look forward to meeting the jackpot winner," she said, "the most important thing for the winner to do today is sign the back of the ticket and secure it in a safe place."
The winner or winners in North Carolina, who also weren't identified, bought the winning ticket at a Scotchman convenience store in the town of Shallotte in Brunswick County, about 13 miles north of the South Carolina border.
— M. Alex Johnson and Christopher Essner