(Deletes reference to retailer bonus in fifth paragraph)
By David Beasley
ATLANTA Dec 18 A store owner in Atlanta said
she was thrilled to learn on Wednesday that her shop, and
another in San Jose, California, had sold winning tickets for an
estimated $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second biggest
in U.S. lottery history.
Young Soo Lee, who owns a Gateway Newsstand in Atlanta's
affluent Buckhead area, said she learned from local television
news that one of her customers had purchased a winning ticket.
"I'm so happy," said Lee, who came to the United States from
Korea in 1980 and bought the newsstand located in an office
building on Lenox Road nine years ago.
There was no immediate word on the identity of the jackpot
winners, but Lee said even her customers who did not win were
sharing in the excitement.
"Everybody is a hug, a hug, a hug," she said.
Another winning ticket was purchased at a retail location
named Jennifer's Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose, according
to Alex Traverso, a lottery official in California.
The winning numbers for Tuesday's drawing were: 8, 14, 17,
20, 39, and 7, according to the lottery's website,
The winners will split the jackpot, though they can each
choose whether to claim the money as an annuity paid out over 30
years or as a lump sum cash payout, which would amount to half
each of an estimated $341 million haul, the lottery said.
The prize swelled after a spike in sales ahead of Tuesday
As many as 70 percent of the tickets are typically bought on
the day of the drawing, said Paula Otto, Virginia's lottery
director, who heads the multi-state Mega Millions game.
Ticket buying reached a fever pitch over the weekend, with
20 percent more chances sold than expected, Otto said.
The surge of spending pushed the prize closer to the record
U.S. jackpot of $656 million, won in March 2012 in a Mega
Totals for Tuesday's jackpot will be updated again after the
drawing, she said.
(Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Writing by Colleen
Jenkins; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bernadette Baum)