COLUMBIA, S.C. – Someone who bought a Powerball ticket in South Carolina is a whole lot richer.
The single winning ticket for Wednesday's $259.9 million drawing was sold at a gas station and convenience store next to a Wal-Mart in Columbia.
South Carolina Education Lottery spokeswoman Stephanie Hemminghaus said no one came forward Thursday to claim the prize.
She said the longest someone had waited to claim a similar prize was about two weeks. The winner will have the option of taking a lump sum payment of $129 million or an annuity worth $259.9 million paid out in 29 yearly installments. State and federal taxes will be withheld, and Hemminghaus estimated that someone who took the lump sum payment would end up with about $88 million.
"I hope it's one of my regulars," said Amber Baldwin, assistant manager at the Murphy USA store in Columbia. "At this point, it could be anyone."
Lottery officials said the ticket matched all the winning numbers for the midweek drawing: 14, 24, 31, 43 and 51. The Powerball was 27 and the multiplier was 5.
The Powerball jackpot is the largest ever won with a ticket bought in South Carolina, which has the nation's fourth-highest state unemployment rate. Lottery officials said there's a good chance the winner could live in the state.
"Because of this location ... because so many of our local residents shop at Walmart and because there is a simple path from Walmart to Murphy, we are just so hopeful that this is a lucky South Carolinian or several lucky South Carolinians," said state Education Lottery Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea.
People shuffling in and out of the store where the ticket was sold were also optimistic. Some called relatives from their cell phones to see if they had the winning ticket. Others, like 60-year-old retired mall worker Laura Myers, concluded that they'd better start playing.
"I come here all the time," said Myers, who bought gas and a ticket Thursday. "It could have been me."
Lottery officials hope the winner will come forward within the required 180 days. If not, the money will be divided among the states that operate Powerball.
The game is now played in 30 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.