Powerball jackpot skyrockets to $700 million, second largest ever

Union Leader Correspondent
August 22. 2017 10:05PM
A screen displays the value of the Powerball jackpot at a store in New York City on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Hampstead Center Market employee Pat True changes the Powerball sign at the store Tuesday afternoon after the jackpot rose from $650 million to $700 million. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

New Hampshire lottery players are crossing their fingers that the state can produce another record Powerball winner as the jackpot for tonight’s drawing grew to an estimated $700 million — the second-largest of any lottery game in United States history.

The jackpot has continued to climb through the summer and is now the biggest since three winners claimed that whopping $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot in January 2016.

The one-time cash payout for tonight’s drawing is expected to be $443.3 million before taxes.

Players who lined up to get their tickets Tuesday said it would be nice for someone in New Hampshire to win for a change.

They seemed to forget that it was just last summer that a $487 million winning Powerball ticket — now the sixth-largest jackpot on record — was sold at the Hannaford supermarket in Raymond.

The lucky family, who chose to remain anonymous, held the single winning ticket and took home a lump sum payment of $256.3 million through the Robin Egg 2016 Nominee Trust.

“Their life is perfect. They do exactly what they want to do when they want to do it,” said their attorney, Bill Shaheen of the law firm Shaheen & Gordon.

Shaheen said he’s served as a “filter system” to help the winners with requests for money.

“They’re not hounded by all the requests for money that I’m hounded by,” he said.

Shaheen said they received daily requests from across the country and from all walks of life when they first won. They have since slowed and now come in weekly.

Some get attention while others don’t.

“Winning this kind of money is a tremendous responsibility because it’s a gift and you must do good with it if you take it seriously,” Shaheen said.

The winners have given to charity, which is something many lottery players promise to do if they get lucky.

Others want to pay off their debt and take a vacation.

“I would pay off my father’s house and pay off my grandmother’s house,” said Veronica Garcia, 30, of Plaistow.

Garcia is enrolled at Empire Beauty School and plans to finish school even if she wins.

Jackie Conway of Hampstead plays one Powerball number twice a week.

“I’ve always said this. If I was to win I would pay off my home down the street and I would find someone who needs it. That’s the God’s honest truth,” she said while buying her ticket Tuesday at Hampstead Center Market.

Paul Biggart of Hampstead bought 40 tickets for an office pool with 20 workers.

“I always tell my wife I’m going to tear down my house and build a new one,” he said.

Hampstead Center Market employee Pat True said players always tell her that they’ll split the money with her if they win.

“They’re going to take me on a trip, take me out to lunch, and pay my bills,” she said, laughing.

Shaheen advises that the first thing any out-of-stater who wins should do is move to New Hampshire to claim the money because the winner can remain anonymous if it’s claimed through a trust and there’s no state tax on lottery winnings.


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