BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A Minnesota electrical engineer, whose devotion to the lottery has been mocked by his family for years, finally proved his persistence by stepping forward to claim his share of a 448-million-dollar Powerball jackpot, one of the largest in U.S. history.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Paul White, a 45-year-old father of two from Ham Lake, proudly held up a check for 149.4 million dollars, his before-taxes share of the winnings.
According to Powerball rules, White had the option of choosing an immediate cash payout of approximately 58.3 million dollars, or annuity payments of the full $149.4 million dollars over a 30-year period. White chose the cash payout.
White said he learned he was holding a winning ticket Thursday morning after his "significant other" called him to say one of three winners had been sold in Minnesota. He said he purchased two tickets for Wednesday's drawing, and found one matched all six numbers.
"It's crazy," said the 45-year-old. "I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. You almost feel like it’s coming true.”
He joked that at a recent family gathering to celebrate his father's birthday, he and his siblings played a game with hypothetical questions that included whose financial plan was to "win the lottery."
Powerball jackpots have been climbing since the game’s rules underwent an overhaul in January 2012. Ticket prices doubled to 2 dollars, dampening turnout but boosting the size of the jackpots. Officials also cut the numbers available to pick, improving the odds of winning to about one in 175 million, according to Los Angeles Times.
The other two winning tickets, whose owners still haven’t showed up and are thus pending claim, were sold in New Jersey.
Apart from the great sum of money awarded to White, the store where he purchased the winning ticket, Holiday, in Ham Lake, will also receive a 50,000 dollar bonus, according to lottery officials.