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Saturday July 4th, 2015 11:25AM

2 winning tickets in $400M Mega Millions jackpot

By The Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The holders of two lucky tickets purchased states apart awoke to good news Wednesday: They will split a $400 million Mega Millions jackpot, the sixth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

The tickets - one sold at a Sunoco convenience store on Florida's Space Coast, the other at a liquor store southeast of Washington in La Plata, Md. - matched all six winning numbers in the Tuesday night drawing: 11, 19, 24, 33 and 51 with a Mega Ball of 7.

The lump-sum option for the entire jackpot was $224 million. The cash option for each of the two winning tickets is about $112 million, and after taxes, the winner would get $74.5 million, Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said.

The Maryland winner bought the ticket at Lady's Liquor in La Plata, a town of nearly 9,000 about 30 miles from the nation's capital. The winner - who has 182 days to claim the prize but can choose to remain anonymous - picked the numbers manually, rather than through a machine's random selection, Martino said.

"Those numbers probably mean something to that winner," he said.

Jay Jhala, the owner and manager of Lady's Liquor, said in a phone interview that he didn't know when the winning ticket was sold or to whom. He said he was excited, though, to have sold a ticket to a new millionaire.

"This is a first ever," he said. The store has sold winning tickets before, "but never this big."

In Florida, the winner has 180 days to claim the prize at state lotto headquarters in Tallahassee, and his or her name and city of residence will be released. That winner's ticket was sold in Merritt Island, just south of Cape Canaveral.

Both retailers receive commissions of $100,000 for selling the winning tickets, according to the state lotteries.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase jackpots. The game is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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