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PHOENIX Dec 7 A married Phoenix-area man in his
thirties has come forward to claim half of a record $587.5
million Powerball lottery jackpot but wants to remain anonymous,
Arizona lottery officials said on Friday.
The ticket holder - who moved to Arizona a year ago from
Pennsylvania - splits the huge prize in the Nov. 28 drawing with
a Missouri couple, Mark and Cindy Hill, who claimed their share
a week ago.
The anonymous Arizona winner, who bought the ticket at a
food store near his home in the Phoenix suburb of Fountain
Hills, has opted to take $192 million before taxes rather than a
larger annuity payment over 30 years, lottery officials said.
"He said he used to play Powerball on a regular basis in
Pennsylvania, but in Arizona has only played twice," Lottery
spokeswoman Karen Bach told a news conference in Phoenix.
The man, who was described by lottery officials as
"intelligent" and "outgoing," did not attend the press
"He and his wife couldn't believe it. They checked the
numbers over and over again. ... They were just absolutely
shocked," Bach said, adding that the ticket had been
authenticated by lottery officials.
The popular lottery - which is played in 42 states, the
District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands - had not had
a winner for two months.
Hopes of winning the vast prize spurred frenzied ticket
sales in the days before the draw, boosting the prize by more
than $260 million.
The Hills - a mechanic and a former office manager - also
opted to take the prize in cash. They told a news conference
they would continue to live in Missouri but had plans to travel.
Bach said the Arizona winner pulled together a legal and
financial team in recent days before contacting lottery
officials. The team put the options on a white board - including
an option for "fun" - before his lawyer called the lottery on
Bach said the savvy winner opted to come forward and take
the prize this year to avoid uncertainty over "fiscal cliff"
talks in Washington.
(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by
Paul Thomasch, Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)