Sunday, March 9, 2014
FAIRFIELD -- Someone may be walking around Fairfield without the slightest clue that a $2 lottery ticket worth more than $8 million is sitting in his or her back pocket.
No one has come forward yet to claim the $8,175,000 prize, which state officials say is among the largest ever in the three-state lottery game.
Store employees at the Big Apple convenience store on Route 104 in Fairfield, where the winning Megabucks ticket was sold, speculate the winner is a resident who is not in the habit of checking his or her ticket right away.
"A lot of locals don't bother to check until a few days later," Mike MacArthur, a clerk at the store, said. "I have a feeling it's one of our locals that will come in a few days later."
The ticket, which bears the numbers 6, 12, 20, 21, 33, accompanied by a Megabucks number of 2, was sold for $2 sometime between Saturday and Wednesday.
Lynn Mills, an assistant manager at the store, said that on Wednesday night, a lottery terminal in the store delivered the news. The hit also comes with a payday for the company that sold the ticket. State officials say that the store that sells the ticket gets 1 percent of the winnings, up to $30,000.
The largest jackpot in the history of Tri-State Megabucks Plus, which operates in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, was for $16.4 million and was split between two winners, one a Maine resident, according to Lisa Rodrigue, marketing specialist with the state lottery.
Rodrigue said the Fairfield win is among the top ten ever in the three states.
Other recent wins in the area have included $100,000 at Mobil On the Run in Augusta and $10,000 at the Middle Road General Store in Sidney, according to the Maine State Lottery. A man in Unity also won $100,000 on a scratch ticket in July.
The state lottery will protect the identify of the winner for five days, starting when the person claims the prize.
While the jackpot winner will be rich, the amount collected will be less than $8 million.
The winnings are taxed at a rate of 30 percent, with 25 percent going to the federal government and 5 percent to the state.
In addition, the jackpot amount is based on expected interest payments, should the winner decide to accept payments over a 30-year period.
The amount of a lump sum payment taken up front would be $5.9 million. If that option were taken by the winner in this case, it would rank as the third-highest such win ever in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Rodrigue said that many winners choose to take the lump sum amount when interest rates are low, as has been the case lately.
The jackpot for the tri-state lottery has been building up for about a year, since the last winner struck in October. Now that a winner has hit, the new jackpot will begin at $1 million.
Since it began in 1974, the Maine State Lottery has paid out $2.2 billion to winners and $1 billion to state coffers. During the last several years, it has paid roughly $50 million per year into the state's General Fund. Since 1996 lottery money has also provided roughly $1 million annually to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which promotes recreation and conservation of habitat in Maine.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287