Nov 2, 2011 9:19 PM by Nancy Chen

Ticket bought in Paso Robles wins $78 million lottery

Chances are almost zero you'll hit the Mega Millions jackpot, but someone in Paso Robles has beat the odds, winning 78 million dollars Tuesday night.

The ticket-holder is the sole winner of last night's game, which is played in 41 states, Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands. As of early Wednesday evening, no one had stepped forward to claim the winnings yet.

Locals in Paso Robles are understandably buzzing today; the ticket was sold about two o'clock Tuesday afternoon at One-Stop Food and Convenience on the 700 block of Spring Street.

"Could be you, Noel," store employee Mary Booker told a customer Wednesday morning. "Could be you. I've been telling you that. I've been telling all you guys that. It's gonna be you."

Booker sold the winning ticket, the winning numbers 27, 31, 39, 40, 46 with a Mega Ball number of 36. She's worked at One-Stop for eight years and says dozens of locals come through each day to buy tickets.

"I have one guy that makes me kiss the ticket," she said. Booker also insists she's known for months it was coming.

"I'm gonna sell that winning ticket," she said. "I'm gonna sell it. I'm hell bent on selling it. I told my boss, 'I'm going to sell that ticket, Paul.'"

Booker says it's mostly locals who visit the store; even if the winner hasn't checked his or her ticket yet though, the new banners proclaiming, "Millionaire Made Here!" should prompt him or her to.

"I would like to think he's aware of it," said Marc Bossu, a representative for California Lottery. "I mean, why are you buying the ticket if you're not going to look?"

The winner has up to a year to come claim the winnings, and most likely, he or she will come right back to One Stop. News of the win has spread throughout Paso Robles with a lot of ticketholders coming by just in case they beat the odds.

"What are the chances?" Bossu said. "About the same chances if you and I walked into a store and get a ticket."

Bossu calls it a great deal--a dollar investment for 78 million in return...with a lot of risk.

"You know what?" Bossu said. "There's a high chance in life a lot of things are going to fail. but when the chance comes at you to win, you gotta love it."

The owners of One-Stop will be getting some winnings too; they say they don't know just how much yet, but it looks to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The owner of the winning ticket can either accept a one-time pay out of $54.9 million or 25 annual payments of about three million dollars each before taxes.

Seven tickets--two each sold in Kentucky and Ohio and one each in Arizona, New York and Texas--had five numbers, but didn't have the Mega number and are each worth $250,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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