California winner of record $2bn lottery prize says he is ‘shocked and ecstatic’ | California

The winner of the largest ever lottery jackpot described himself as “shocked and ecstatic” as officials revealed his identity, satisfying a law in his state, California.

Edwin Castro bought the ticket that won the record-breaking $2.04bn Powerball jackpot on 8 November. Instead of choosing to collect the full prize through an annuity over 29 years, he opted for an immediate lump sum of more than $997.6m – the more common path for people in his position.

Castro declined an invitation to appear at a news conference held on Tuesday by lottery officials in California. But the names of California lottery winners must become public by law, so officials published his name while reading a statement on his behalf, in an event that was recorded on video posted online.

California officials discuss the winner of November’s historic $2.04bn Powerball jackpot.

Castro said he was happy the lottery he won generated a record-breaking $156m for California public schools.

“I am shocked and ecstatic to have won the Powerball drawing,” Castro said in his statement, a copy of which was provided to the Guardian. “As someone who received the rewards of being educated in the California public education system, it’s gratifying to hear that as a result of my win, the school system greatly benefits as well.”

His winnings are subject to federal taxes, which reduce the payout by more than a third. However, California is one of eight states that do not tax Powerball winnings.

Castro bought his lucky ticket from Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, about five miles north of Pasadena. The store owner, Joe Chahayed, earned a $1m bonus prize for selling the winning ticket.

More than 45 states – along with Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – offer people the opportunity to play Powerball. Players must match all five white balls and one red Powerball to win the jackpot.

The odds of doing so are one in 292m. There isn’t much players can do to improve their chances. Given the steep odds, it is not unusual for the prize to go un-won until a growing jackpot attracts more players to cover more possible number combinations.

There had been 40 Powerball drawings without a winner before Castro won. His winning numbers were 10, 33, 41, 47 and 56 and the Powerball was 10.

The preceding jackpot victor won more than three months earlier, on 3 August.

Castro’s prize was one of only four Powerball jackpots ever to top $1bn. The sheer size of the prize set off a rush across the US as people in states that do not offer the Powerball lottery crossed into ones that do in order to try their luck.

Powerball’s fifth-largest jackpot – and the ninth-biggest lottery prize in US history – was won by a ticket holder in Washington state just eight days before Castro was revealed as the biggest winner of all.

The odds against Castro’s win were about the same as flipping a coin and having it land on the same side 28 times in a row, the Associated Press has estimated.

The National Weather Service, meanwhile, says being struck by lightning is way more likely than meeting Castro’s odds, estimating that people who live for about 80 years have one-in-15,300 odds of suffering such a fate.

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