Winner hid ticket in light bulb socket
Maryland’s mystery winner of the $189 million Mega Millions jackpot is a mystery no more.
The winner, who chose to remain anonymous, hid his ticket in an unplugged lamp for over a week until driving through pouring rain Friday to claim his prize at Lottery headquarters on Friday. With a dozen excited family members surrounding him, the Anne Arundel County man won the second largest jackpot in Maryland’s history.
“We are blessed,” he said, accepting the win on behalf of his “Lucky Family,” as the group dubbed themselves for publicity photos.
Our lucky winner dreamed of his relatives saying the winning numbers the night before he bought 10 Mega Millions tickets at his favorite Lottery retailer. He often stops there for gas and to play Lottery games. He played different combinations of the numbers in his dream along with his birth month, date and year.
“It’s like they were talking to me about the numbers in the dream,” he said. Before picking the numbers in the store, he asked for heavenly guidance. “I prayed, ‘Lord, if you want this money to belong to me, guide my hand,’ ” the man said.
The morning after the Oct. 1 drawing, a relative called him at work and told him their favorite store sold the winning ticket. After asking for the jackpot numbers, our winner remembers saying on the phone, “Wow! I got all of those numbers on one line.” He then began weeping with joy. “I cried and I cried,” he said. “Since the economy went down, our life has been tough.”
The man initially hid the ticket under a water jug where he and his wife put their spare change but settled on hiding the ticket in a light bulb socket after removing one of two bulbs and unplugging the lamp.
Our winner selected the cash option and will take home $86 million after state and federal taxes. He is setting up a charity and sharing the money with his large extended family. Many family members said they will pay off their mortgages but have no other plans for the money yet.
“Everyone’s a winner when the jackpot comes home to Maryland,” said Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. “The jackpot winner, the retailer who sold the winning ticket and the people of the state of Maryland all benefit from the win.”
Our winner found his fortune at Dash In, located at 7845 Quarterfield Road in Severn. The retailer will earn a $100,000 commission for selling the ticket and the state of Maryland will receive more than $11.3 million in tax revenue.
The Mega Millions game is played in 45 states and jurisdictions – including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. The largest jackpot in Maryland history – and in the country, a $656 record-breaker set back in March 2012, was split among three states, with Maryland’s “Three Amigos” taking home a third of the prize.
This is the second Maryland Mega Millions jackpot win this year, following the $26 million jackpot claimed by a Mt. Airy woman in late February. In all, Maryland has seen 10 Mega Millions jackpot winners. This year alone, Maryland had 15 second-tier $1 million winners.
Drawings take place Tuesdays and Fridays and are televised in Maryland at 11:22 p.m. both days on WBAL-TV, Channel 11. Players can also view results on the Maryland Lottery website at mdlottery.com.