$758.7M Powerball winner speaks out, calls jackpot 'a pipe dream'

Mavis Wanczyk is the holder of the single winning ticket.

ByABC News
August 24, 2017, 1:50 PM

— -- One Powerball ticket among the millions sold across the country has made 53-year-old Massachusetts resident Mavis Wanczyk a very rich person.

The Massachusetts State Lottery announced Wanczyk as the holder of the lucky ticket for Wednesday's $758.7 million Powerball jackpot, the largest haul in North American history for a single winning ticket.

"It's just a pipe dream I've always had," Wanczyk told reporters during a press conference Thursday. "It's just a chance I had to take."

Wanczyk bought the Powerball ticket at the Pride Station and Store near where she works in Chicopee, located some 90 miles west of Boston. The winning numbers for the jackpot drawn Wednesday night were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and the final number, called the Powerball, was 4.

Wanczyk, who works at Chicopee Medical Center, said she bought two quick-pick tickets and a third ticket for which she picked out the numbers herself, and the latter was the lucky one. Some of the numbers she chose were birthdays, one was her lucky number 4 and others were random, she said.

A colleague was with her at the time she checked her numbers and told her she had won the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot, the second-largest in the game's history. Wanczyk, a mother to a 31-year-old daughter and a 26-year-old son, said she was in shock.

"I couldn't drive anywhere, I couldn't do anything," Wanczyk, who still appeared stunned by her luck, told reporters Thursday.

The odds of matching all six numbers are only one in 292.2 million.

In addition to the single jackpot winner, there were 9,397,723 other players who won non-jackpot prizes totaling $134,981,575. California had the most winners by far, with 1,172,477.

Massachusetts was home to two other winning tickets worth $1 million -- one was sold at Handy Variety in Watertown and the other at Sandy's Variety in Dorchester.

Initially, the Massachusetts State Lottery erroneously announced that the jackpot winning ticket was sold at Handy Variety. The lottery issued a correction Thursday morning.

“When manually recording the names of the retailers that sold the jackpot winning ticket and the $1 million winning tickets, the information was transcribed incorrectly. We apologize for the confusion this created and remain thrilled that a jackpot winning ticket and two $1 million winning tickets were sold here in Massachusetts," Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, said in a statement.

The estimated Powerball jackpot will now be reset to $40 million.

Wednesday's winning jackpot is second only to a $1.6 billion prize shared by three people in January 2016.

The $758.7 million amount reflects the annuity payout option, in which the winner receives 30 payments over 29 years, increasing 5 percent annually.

Lottery officials said nearly all winners take the cash option, which would be around $443.3 million minus federal and state taxes. Federal tax for the Powerball jackpot is 25 percent and Massachusetts state tax is 5 percent, so they would collectively eat up 30 percent of the winnings.

As ABC News reported Wednesday morning, Powerball officials told ABC News they expected to sell 170 million tickets between last Saturday and tonight's drawing.

Powerball is played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all of which collectively oversee the game.

ABC News' Kelly McCarthy and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

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