For the third time since December, a major lottery jackpot-winning ticket was purchased in the Capital Region, the latest larger than the first two combined.
The sole winning ticket for Friday night’s $319 million Mega Millions jackpot was sold at Coulson’s News Center at 420 Broadway.
Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for the New York Lottery, said the jackpot is the sixth-largest in the history of Mega Millions, but for each of the five greater jackpots, there were multiple winning tickets. She said the $319 million prize is the largest jackpot ever to go to a single winning ticket sold in New York state.
Hapeman said it seems like the Capital Region has been on a winning streak lately. Jeff and Christine Pintuff of Wilton purchased a $48.8 million winning Powerball ticket at a Stewart’s shop Dec. 25, and Green County resident Stephen Kirwan bought a $122 million Powerball winning ticket Jan. 22.
“This is the third major jackpot in the Capital Region in a very short period of time,” she said.
Maureen Lundberg, of Wynantskill, said she works near Coulson’s and she frequently buys lottery tickets there. She even bought some Friday night, but she didn’t win. For a brief moment Saturday morning, she thought her chances were good.
“I had the shakes. It was great. I was all ready to spend that money. I was hiring a cleaning lady,” she joked.
Steve Hutchins, whose family has owned Coulson’s for about 100 years, said this is the second big jackpot ever sold at his store, which he estimates sells thousands of lottery tickets every week. He said about 25 years ago, a $3.5 million winning ticket was sold at Coulson’s. The lottery isn’t a high-margin product for Coulson’s, or any retail store, but Hutchins said it helps bring in customers.
“This is great. It’s free publicity for the store, and it’s nice to know one of your customers is going to win a lot of money,” he said.
Hapeman said the New York Lottery gives a $10,000 bonus to the retail store that sells the winning ticket for a big jackpot like Mega Millions.
So far, the winner or winners have not yet come forward for the prize money. Hapeman said the earliest a winner could bring the winning ticket to the lottery’s headquarters in Schenectady would be Monday morning. But she said it wouldn’t be unusual for the owner or owners of the winning ticket to delay claiming the prize.
“Winners these days tend to want to talk to lawyers and financial planners and things like that before they come in with their tickets. They’re very savvy these days. They want to have all of their ducks in a row,” she said.
Fox23 News was reporting Saturday that a source had informed them that seven New York state employees purchased the winning ticket as part of a pool of tickets. State offices are very close to Coulson’s.
The owner or owners of the winning ticket will have to choose whether to take the money in 26 payments over 25 years or in one lump sum of $202.9 million, the amount of money the lottery would have to invest to pay out the $319 million over 25 years.