7-Eleven franchise owner Balbir Atwal holds one of the “Millionaire Made Here” lottery signs in his Chino Hills store, where one of the winning Powerball tickets was sold.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Customers take pictures of the counter at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, where one of three winning Powerball tickets was sold.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
7-Eleven employee Bally Gosl processes a customer Powerball ticket on the lotto machine that dispensed a winning ticket in Chino Hills.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Lottery official Terry White, top, and store owner Balbir Atwal hang a “Millionaire Made Here” poster at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Lottery official Terry White hangs a “Millionaire Made Here” poster at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills that sold one of three winning Powerball tickets.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
7-Eleven franchise owner Balbir Atwal, who will receive $1 million for selling a winning ticket, holds a Powerball poster as media crowd around at the Chino Hills store.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Residents of Chino Hills crowd into a 7-Eleven where at least one of the winning tickets was sold in the Powerball which had a jackpot in excess of $1.5 billion. Employee M. Faroqui, center, sold the winning ticket.(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Residents of Chino Hills crowd into a 7-Eleven where at least one of the winning tickets was sold in Powerball, which had a jackpot in excess of $1.5 billion.(Michael Robinson Chávez / Los Angeles Times)
What we know is this: The nation’s largest lottery jackpot was won in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing, and one of three winners purchased a lucky ticket in Chino Hills.
What we don’t know, however, is who the California winner is. On Thursday, California lottery officials are flying from Sacramento to Chino Hills to visit the store that sold the ticket while they wait for the local winner to claim the jackpot.
The last 12 hours have been a “whirlwind” for the lottery, said Alex Traverso, a California Lottery spokesman.
“The phone is ringing off the hook. Everyone was clamoring to find out where the winning locations were. It’s really chaotic. There’s other words that would describe it that aren’t fit for print,” he quipped.
Wednesday night’s drawing for more than $1.5 billion produced three winning tickets: one sold from a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, one in Florida and one in Tennessee.
The Chino Hills ticket is worth $528.8 million before taxes, which equates to more than $300 million in a single lump sum, Traverso said. If the person chooses to take the 30-year annuity payments, the winner’s first check would be for about $8 million and the last would be upward of $32.7 million, he said.
Either way, the person becomes the largest single-prize winner in California history, surpassing the winner of a $425 million MegaMillions jackpot in 2012, Traverso said.
Though the federal government immediately skims 25% from the top of the winnings as taxes, the only other levies the California purchaser faces is in filing income tax.
“They’ll be in a high tax bracket,” Traverso joked.
A dozen other tickets in California matched five numbers but not the sixth Powerball number. Each of those winners receives $638,146 before taxes, Traverso said.
But the owners of those tickets aren’t the only winners from the Powerball frenzy that swept the country this week. California saw its biggest single day of lottery sales on Wednesday, when $85 million worth of tickets were sold, Traverso said.
Before Wednesday’s drawing, Powerball hadn’t produced a winner since Nov. 4. More than $300 million in Powerball tickets have been sold in California since then, nearly matching all of last fiscal year’s sales, Traverso said.
“This thing took a pretty good fiscal year and turned it into a great one,” he said.
For now, though, the focus is on waiting for the winner — or winners — to step forward and to help the local 7-Eleven deal with the wave of attention it has received since the numbers were drawn.
“It’s really just to get down there to help them deal with this unprecedented media interest,” Traverso said.
The store receives $1 million for selling a winning ticket. The winner has a year to claim the prize and then 60 days from then to decide whether to take the lump sum payment or the 30-year annuity. There is no option to remain anonymous once the winner is identified by the state, Traverso said.
“Once you lay claim to the prize, it’s public information. We’ve got to kind of close the books on these types of things. They understand,” Traverso said.
Just in case someone out there doesn’t know he has won yet, the winning numbers were: 4, 8, 19, 27, 34 and a Powerball number of 10.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.