EXETER — A single winning ticket for Tuesday night’s $168 million Mega Millions jackpot was sold in Exeter.
The as yet unidentified winner bought the ticket at Brookside Market & Deli, which will receive $75,000 for making the big sale.
Store owner Pete Aresco said he had “no clue” who won, but even if he knew he wouldn’t reveal the winner’s identity.
“Whoever it is, I hope it’s local and I hope it goes to a really good person who uses it for some good causes,” he said.
New Hampshire has had 21 Powerball winners, but this is the state’s first Mega Millions jackpot winner. It’s the third time a ticket worth more than $100 million has been sold here since 2016.
Last year, a player hit a $559.7 million Powerball jackpot with a ticket purchased at Reed’s Ferry Market in Merrimack.
Another lucky winner won $487 million after buying the single winning Powerball ticket at the Hannaford Supermarket in Raymond.
Both of those recent winners have remained anonymous.
Under state law, the winner’s name, town or city, and state of residency on the claim form must be made public. However, the winner could choose to keep his or her identity under wraps by setting up a trust to claim the prize.
The winning numbers for Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing were 1, 4, 23, 40, 45, and a Megaball of 11.
The jackpot is worth an estimated $168 million if the winner chooses to take the money in annuity payments over 30 years or $108.8 million if the winner takes the lump sum cash option. Both jackpot numbers don’t include the taxes that will have to be paid.
The jackpot has been growing since it was last won in California on June 7.
New Hampshire joined Mega Millions in 2010. The odds of winning are 1 in 302,575,350.
“New Hampshire is lucky again, as somebody woke up a multimillionaire today. We have been waiting patiently for our first Mega Millions jackpot winner and now that we finally have a winner, the excitement is off the charts,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of New Hampshire Lottery.
Tuesday’s winning ticket was the biggest Aresco has sold since he bought the store at 51 Hampton Road — formerly known as Lee Mac’s Market — nearly two years ago. Before this week, the biggest winner was a $1,500 ticket.
“I’m really excited because we’re a small store,” said Aresco, an Exeter resident.
Many of the store’s customers are locals who also stop by to grab sandwiches and pizza.
“We get a lot of beach traffic, too. We’re only four miles from the beach,” he said.
As word of the Exeter winner spread, some locals began suggesting ways to spend it. The ideas included saving Exeter’s historic Ioka theater, which was built in 1915 and has been closed since 2008.
The Ioka property at 53 Water St. was sold at auction in 2011 to Kensington philanthropist Alan Lewis, the principal owner of Kensington Investment Company, for $600,000. It continues to sit vacant.
Meanwhile, McIntyre offered some advice for the winner: Talking to a lawyer and meeting with a financial planner who’s used to dealing with large sums of money are always a good idea.
He also advised the winner to plan first and then claim the prize. The winner must claim the prize within a year from the date of the drawing.