'It's a Dream': Wisconsin Man Claims $768M Powerball Jackpot - NBC Southern California
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'It's a Dream': Wisconsin Man Claims $768M Powerball Jackpot

"I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling," Manuel Franco said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wisc. Man Wins 3rd Largest Lottery in History at $768M

    Manuel Franco, the Wisconsin 24-year-old who won a $768.4 million Powerball jackpot, stepped out to claim the third-largest jackpot in history. (Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019)

    Manuel Franco said he felt lucky when he purchased five Powerball games last month at a Wisconsin gas station. 

    The 24-year-old West Allis resident's hunch was right. Franco matched all six Powerball numbers to win the $768.4 million prize, the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

    "It feels like a dream," Franco told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

    Franco said he stopped at the Speedway gas station in New Berlin, a city of about 40,000 people roughly 14 miles southwest of Milwaukee, and purchased $10 worth of Powerball quick picks. 

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    "I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling," Franco said.

    The new millionaire admitted he did not watch the March 27 drawing that evening and only thought to check his tickets after learning that the winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin. 

    Franco said he was sorting through his tickets and thought he had checked all of them when he saw one last ticket stuck to another one, and recounted to reporters the feeling as he matched the first two numbers, then glanced at the Powerball to see it matched too.

    "I was going insane," Franco said. "I looked back at the three other numbers, they all matched. My heart started racing, my blood started pumping, I felt warm. I started screaming. No freakin' way."

    Franco declined to reveal much about himself at a news conference conducted by Wisconsin Lottery officials, smiling often but deflecting questions such as what he did for a living and what kind of car he drives. Franco did say he quit his job the second day after winning, but declined to say where he worked.

    He said he would take a lump sum payment, hoped to make some charitable contributions and was prepared for people who might come asking for money.

    "I'm ready and I know how to say no," Franco said.

    Under Wisconsin law, winners cannot remain anonymous.

    The winning ticket was sold on March 27 at a Speedway gas station in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin, a city of about 40,000 people roughly 14 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee.

    The $768 million prize refers to an annuity option paid over 29 years. The winner also can choose a $477 million cash option. Nearly all grand prize winners opt for the cash prize. The gas station will receive $100,000 for selling the winning ticket.

    The jackpot is the third-largest behind the world record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January 2016 and a $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in South Carolina last October.

    Wisconsin Department of Revenue officials estimated that if the winner takes the cash prize the state would claim $38 million of the winnings as tax revenue. Annual tax revenue from annuities would build from $11.6 million this year to $47 million by 2048.

    The win comes almost exactly two years after Wisconsin hit its last Powerball jackpot, when a Milwaukee resident won $156.2 million on March 22, 2017.

    The odds of matching all six balls in the Powerball drawing were 1 in 292.2 million. The winning numbers were 16, 20, 37, 44 and 62.

    Seven tickets matched all five white balls but missed matching the red Powerball to win a $1 million prize. Those tickets were sold in Arizona, two in California, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey and New York. Two other tickets sold in Kansas and Minnesota matched all five white balls and doubled the prize to $2 million since the tickets included the Power Play option for an additional $1.

    Powerball is played in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.