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Winning Powerball jackpot ticket worth $731.1 million sold in small Maryland town

In a Western Maryland town of just over 1,000 people, the Coney Market shop, otherwise known for hamburgers and hand-dipped ice cream, sold around 1,200 Powerball tickets last week, according to owner Richard “Dick” Ravenscroft.

Still, the chances were slim that he would sell the winning ticket for the largest jackpot in Maryland history. Individual odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 292 million, according to the Maryland Lottery.

Yet it happened. The Maryland Lottery announced Thursday that someone purchased the winning ticket at Coney Market in Lonaconing, worth an estimated $731.1 million before taxes. It’s the fifth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever, and it comes one day after nobody won the even-larger Mega Millions prize, which now stands at $970 million.

“Everybody’s very excited,” said Ravenscroft, who doesn’t know the identity of the person who purchased the ticket, the multimillionaire now perhaps walking in his midst.

“It wasn’t me,” Ravenscroft said. “I’m still here.”

The first thing he would do if he had won? “Sit down.”

Some believe that the market’s tucked-away location, miles from the interstate, suggest someone local must be the lucky winner.

“We do get people passing through, but most of the time it’s someone in the area,” Lonaconing Town Administrator Tyler Rayner said.

Wilbur Miller, 76, a grandfather of seven who lives in the town, wanted to dispel a rumor going around town Thursday: that he had bought the winning ticket.

Miller sounded exasperated during a phone interview Thursday afternoon with The Sun. The Boynton, Pennsylvania, native spent all morning overwhelmed by hundreds of calls, congratulating him and asking if it was true.

”I did not win this money,” Miller said.

He said he is a regular lottery player and won $10,000 on a Scratch-Off two months ago.

”But I done spent that working on my pickup truck,” he said, with a laugh.

No one has yet come forward to claim the prize, said a spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery.

“Could take days … or weeks. We never know,” Carole Bober Gentry, managing director of communications, wrote in an email. “Even then, they could choose to remain anonymous.”

In 2012, three friends and public school educators who called themselves “The Three Amigos” came forward to anonymously claim their $218.6 million portion of the then-record-breaking $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.

That year, a previous lottery winner, Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett, who won $32.6 million in 2007, encouraged other winners to stay private.

Lottery winners whose identities are made public can become targets for scammers, charities and others seeking handouts.

The winning numbers for the drawing, which took place Wednesday night, were as follows: 40-53-60-68-69 and a Powerball of 22. The jackpot winner matched all six numbers. (Another ticket sold at an AC&T in Hagerstown matched the first five but not the Powerball number. That ticket is now worth $2 million.)

The unknown winner is the first person to snag the top Powerball prize since September. The long stretch between wins is the reason why the prize total grew so huge. Following the win, the new jackpot drops to an estimated $20 million for the next drawing Saturday.

Wednesday’s drawing marks Maryland’s first Powerball win since 2011 and just its third overall. The previous two jackpot wins in the state both happened in 2011, one in Cecil County ($128.8 million) and another in Harford County ($108.8 million).

The prizes listed are for winners who choose an annuity option, paid over 30 years. Most winners opt for cash prizes, which for Mega Millions would be $716.3 million and $546.8 million for Wednesday’s Powerball. According to the Maryland Lottery, the jackpot win generates nearly $50 million in taxes for the state if the winner takes the lump sum cash option. Prizes are also subject to federal taxes.

The winning ticket for Wednesday’s jackpot was sold in Allegany County, located in northwestern Maryland, but additional details weren’t immediately available. ]]>