Aug. 16, 2013 – The past week has been especially exciting for Powerball fans, as two of the three jackpot winners made quick turnarounds to claim their multi-million dollar slices of the jackpot pie.
Paul White, from Ham Lake, Minn., was the first to claim his $159 million piece of the jackpot. After a few photos with his giant check and an equally giant smile, White told curious reporters that he didn’t want to wait before claiming his prize, saying “I’ve been waiting my whole life.”
Monday afternoon, “Ocean’s 16” came out. Not another in the popular series of films, but a group of 16 municipal workers from an Ocean County, N.J. vehicle maintenance office, who together had the second of the three Powerball winning tickets.
The group spent about half an hour answering questions and sharing stories of both happiness and hardship.
Six of the lucky winners had homes damaged or destroyed by superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and were thankful for the opportunity to pay for much needed repairs.
One of the 16, Willie Seeley, particularly captured the media’s attention, even scoring himself an interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” morning show.
Sporting a T-shirt from the A&E series “Duck Dynasty,” and a beard that looked like it belonged to one of the family members on the show, Seeley cracked jokes with reporters at the press conference and told Lauer he could imagine disappearing into the woods with his millions.
To hear more of the stories from “Ocean’s 16,” read the LotteryHUB feature, here.
Sometimes what you get isn’t what you expect, a maxim proved twice this week in Oregon and Oklahoma.
Oregon Lottery director Larry Niswender submitted a few questions to Oregon’s Justice Department in March, and as a result the Oregon Lottery this week discontinued a 20-year advertising campaign urging problem gamblers to seek help.
Niswender’s questions reflected concerns from some lawmakers that the constitutional amendment which created the Lottery prohibited it from using state funds to support treatment services.
Chief Counsel Steve Wolf confirmed those suspicions, redefining the line the Lottery must draw between advertising treatment services and promoting responsible gaming.
In Oklahoma, it was the Lottery’s players rather than the Lottery itself that got a surprise, as reports came in that a toll-free number printed on some tickets was not the Lottery’s customer service line.
Instead, it directs players to a hotline of a different sort – “America’s Hottest Talk Like,” which caters to the fantasies of lonely adults. Lottery director Rollo Redburn said the Lottery stopped using the toll-free number in 2010 to save money.
He said that an old roll of the stock paper the Lottery’s tickets are printed on was probably forgotten along the way, and eventually the number resurfaced.
They then discovered that the phone number was still listed on a part of their website. They released a statement saying they regretted the “oversight”, and were working hard to remedy the situation.
Finally, in game news this week, the South Carolina Education Lottery announced that it would be discontinuing the relatively new Carolina Cash 6 draw game, after the game had less-than-stellar sales since it launched in April.
And there’ll be a lot of celebrating going on in Washington, D.C., though there won’t be as many winners. That’s because the D.C. Lottery is holding a contest to see who’s got the best celebration dance!
You can join in on the D.C. Lottery’s Facebook page, and the winner’s will get a $500 cash prize, as well as internet fame.