UPDATED 9:05 p.m. Thursday.
FAIRMOUNT — Vermilion County's newest millionaire is not yet making his, or her, identity officially known in the small town of about 600 where a $1 million winning Powerball ticket was recently sold at the Casey's General Store.
Casey's Manager Janet Jackson said it's been the talk of the town, people checking their own tickets and wondering who the big winner might be. Rumors were swirling around Fairmount all day with some claiming they know who it is, but the winner has not yet come forward publicly.
Mike Lang, spokesperson for the lottery in Illinois, said the winner has one year to claim the prize, which will be a one-time payment of $700,000 after a 25-percent federal tax and 5 percent state tax. Lang said Illinois had two million-dollar winning tickets sold in the 44-state (including the District of Columbia) Powerball drawing Wednesday night. Two grand-prize winners, in Missouri and Arizona, will split the record $587.5 million jackpot. The grand-prize winners matched all six numbers while the million-dollar winners matched the first five numbers but not the Powerball number, according to Lang.
The second $1 million winning ticket in Illinois was sold at a small supermarket in Flanagan, a town of about 1,000 north of Bloomington. Both were quick-pick tickets, Lang said, and both retailers will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning tickets. Lang said if the two Illinois winners had opted for the Power Play for one more dollar they would have doubled their prize at $2 million each.
Jackson, a Fairmount native, suspects she will personally know the winning ticket holder. About 95 percent of the lottery tickets sold at the store are to local residents, she said, and even the few out-of-towners are most likely still known by someone in Fairmount.
Jackson first heard the news at 4 a.m. Thursday when a local resident called her during her shift at Casey's, telling her that the lottery website stated that a winning ticket had been sold there. Jackson said she doesn't know what day the ticket was sold but she hopes she was the one who sold it.
"It's going to make somebody a nice Christmas present," she said.
Lang said altogether there were 58 $1 million winners, including the two in Illinois, and eight others who opted for the Power Play and won $2 million each.
He said the jackpot started back in early October and rolled over 16 times before the two grand-prize winners were drawn Wednesday night. He said the $587.5 million pot was the highest in Powerball history, and the second-highest in lottery history. The biggest ever was a $656 million jackpot that went to three winners on March 30 in the other multistate lottery, Mega Millions.
He said there were $17.9 million worth of tickets sold Wednesday in Illinois alone. Total sales in Illinois, which began in October, were $59 million, he said, which equals about $25 million in proceeds for the state's common school fund, which helps fund K-12 education.