The odds of becoming a lottery millionaire are long — everyone knows that. But what are the odds that four Broward County players would strike Lotto gold in the same night? And at the same retailer?
It happened late Wednesday, with winning tickets sold at Publix supermarkets located in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Plantation and Coral Springs. Each player matched all five of the white balls but missed on the red powerball, and therefore missed out on the $241 million jackpot prize.
The winners beat the odds of 175 million to one to win, according to lottery officials.
Even without the hitting the super-sized jackpot, all four Broward players walk away with at least $1 million — the prize for matching all numbers minus the powerball. One of the local players will take home $2 million because he or she doubled the winnings by purchasing a Power Play ticket.
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Only one of the winners had been identified by Thursday: $1 million winner Mario Chiong, 67, of Pembroke Pines. Chiong could not be reached for comment.
In a statement, the manager of the Florida Lottery’s Miami District, Tom Dolan, said he “can’t recall seeing anything as statistically improbable as having four millionaires generated from the same chain, in the same county, on the same night.”
Publix is the state’s largest lottery vendor, so the fact that the supermarket sold all four winning tickets is perhaps the most unremarkable piece of the equation.
“We sell a lot of the tickets from Publix,” said lottery spokeswoman Shelly Safford.
Broward County is also second-highest in the state when it comes to Powerball sales, just behind Miami-Dade, but there are still 66 other counties buying Powerball tickets, none of which had a millionaire winner Wednesday night. The 42-state lotto game also had millionaire winners in Missouri, North Carolina, and New York (one in each state). There was also a still-unidentified $241 million jackpot winner — that person bought their ticket at a grocery store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
And just in case you bought your ticket in Weston, Plantation or Coral Springs and want to check, the winning numbers were: 7, 10, 14, 33 and 57, plus the Powerball number of 18.