Harold and Tina Ehrenberg found the $1.8 million winning ticket, which won the southern US state's June 6 Lottery Lotto drawing, while doing some holiday cleaning
Washington (AFP) - A single winning ticket sold in a tiny South Carolina town has been identified in a massive $1.5 billion Mega Millions US lottery jackpot, the second largest on record, organizers said Wednesday.
The winning ticket was sold at a convenience store in Simpsonville, a rural town with a population 22,000.
"Holy cow," Simpsonville Mayor Janice Curtis told The Washington Post. "I think it's wonderful news."
Curtis described her rural town as a place where "there's a church on every corner."
And indeed there were two churches close to the store where the ticket was sold, the Post reported.
The winner however may never be known: unlike most other states, in South Carolina a lottery winner can legally remain anonymous.
Mega Millions, which initially announced a global record $1.6 billion jackpot, later revised the figure down to $1.537 billion.
The new amount makes the prize the second largest, just shy of the $1.586 billion jackpot for a rival Powerball lottery in January 2016, which was shared between three winning tickets.
Regardless, it's the largest single winning ticket ever and it dwarfed the previous Mega Millions record, set in March 2012 at $656 million.
The six winning numbers drawn on Tuesday night were five, 28, 62, 65, 70 and another five as the special "gold Mega Ball."
The massive jackpot had set off a lottery frenzy across the country, with people lining up at convenience stores, supermarkets and liquor stores to buy a $2 ticket that gave them a roughly one in 300 million chance of winning.
The winner can take $878 million in a lump sum cash payment or be paid out in annuities over 30 years.
The jackpot ballooned because no one had won since July, when a group of office workers in California shared a $543 million prize.
The record 2016 Powerball jackpot was split three ways by ticket holders in California, Florida and Tennessee. Each took home $528.8 million.
- But wait! Millions still available -
While it may be tempting to burn a "losing" ticket, in this Mega Millions draw are also 36 second prizes worth $1 million each. Two of those were sold in Virginia, and one was sold in the US capital.
The tickets were sold in 16 states, and they will be paid out to people who got the first five numbers right but not the Mega Ball.
And two still unidentified lucky winners -- one in Texas, and another in Florida -- won $3 million each.
Including the jackpot and lesser prizes, there were 15.75 million tickets Tuesday night that earned bettors at least the face value of the ticket.
Unlike in many other countries, US lottery winnings are taxable at the federal level, while some states also impose local taxes.
The jackpot now resets at $40 million for the next drawing on Friday.