Last month, Edwin Castro came forward to claim the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot he won off a ticket sold in Altadena in November. He was the sole winner of the largest lottery jackpot in history but, had just one number on a ticket sold 28 miles south been different, California could’ve had two jackpot winners.
Castro’s ticket matched all six winning numbers – 10, 33, 41, 47, 56 and red Powerball 10 – for the November 7 drawing. A ticket sold at Stues Dairy in Gardena missed splitting the jackpot with Castro by one number, the California Lottery announced Wednesday.
Though not as large as Castro’s prize – he opted for the cash payout, which was less than half the jackpot size – the ticket claimed by Ana Contreras was worth $1,149,661.
That’s larger than what tickets that matched five numbers sold in other states – 22 for record-setting Powerball jackpot drawing, 3 of which were sold in California – are worth. According to Powerball, the payout for such tickets is $1 million, which can be multiplied if the ticketholder opted into the Power Play option.
In Contreras’ case, her payout exceeded the standard $1 million because California has pari-mutuel prize amounts for non-jackpot prizes. This allows fixed prizes to vary based on ticket sales and the number of winners.
Sound familiar? That’s because it is – if there are multiple winners of the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpots, the funds are split evenly among them. When California’s Steve Tran matched all six winning numbers for the $648 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2013, so did a ticket sold in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Both winners received $324 million.
Like the jackpot, lower-level prizes – like the prize Contreras just claimed – are also able to grow in California thanks to their pari-mutuel status.
“Over time, the pari-mutuel prize for that secondary price level does, mathematically, even out to where it is, on average, $1 million, just like the other states,” Carolyn Becker, deputy director of public affairs and communications for the California Lottery told Nexstar earlier this year. “But, for any given player, it might be more or might be less.”
Stues Dairy also receives a bonus of almost $6,000 for selling Contreras’ ticket. The two other tickets sold in California to claim the second-tier prize are also worth $1,149,661 but winners have yet to be named for those payouts.
California public schools, which receive funds through the state’s lottery sales, received $156.3 million during the Powerball’s historic run up to the $2.04 billion jackpot in the fall.