The first of three Mega Millions winners has come forward to claim their share of a record setting prize.
The Kansas winner will share a whopping $656 million jackpot with two other winners in Maryland and Illinois who have yet to come forward.
Today, Kansas Lottery authorities presented a check for an estimated $218 million to a cardboard cut-out figure with a smiley-face head. The words “anonymous jackpot winner” were printed on its chest.
Dennis Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, said that in that state, winners remain anonymous if they choose.
“That person has chosen that option,” Wilson said. He didn’t reveal the gender or age of the winner.
“They didn’t actually discover they had the winning ticket until Monday,” Wilson said. “They actually just checked the tickets of all the games they had purchased and found out they were the winner.”
“They checked it over 10 times to make sure they were reading it right, to verify it, and they still had a hard time believing it,” Wilson said.
The Kansas Mega Millions winner opted for the cash option of $157 million instead of annual payments over 26 years that would have matched the $218 million printed on the jumbo check.
Wilson said the winner arrived at the Kansas Lottery office today at around 11:45 a.m. local time with an attorney and a few financial advisers in tow.
When asked if the winners were frequent players, Wilson said, “They play quite often. They don’t play a lot, but they play quite often.”
“It proves real people really do win, and you could be next,” he said with a laugh.
More in the video below.
- Kan. says Mega Millions winner has come forward (kansascity.com)
- Kansas Mega Millions Winner Emerges (myfoxphoenix.com)