LOWELL, Mass. – Whoever bought the winning ticket in the $290 million Mega Millions (search) lottery drawing couldn't have been much happier Saturday than the person who sold it.
Jay Patel (search), owner of Powers Liquors, was elated as he waited along with everyone else to find out which one of his customers won the huge jackpot in Friday's drawing with the numbers 10-25-38-39-50 and Mega Ball 12.
A hand-lettered sign that read, "We sold $290 million's jackpot here" hung in the window of the store Patel called "the luckiest Powers Liquors in the world right now."
Patel will receive $50,000 for selling the ticket.
"There's no word to describe it, but it feels good," he said.
Patel said in the days before the drawing he sold about 4,000 to 5,000 tickets from his store, located in a strip mall in a racially diverse section of this working class city 30 miles north of Boston (search).
Steve Landino, a 37-year-old roofer from Lowell, buys tickets weekly at Powers. Even though he didn't win, he said, news that Powers sold the winning ticket "gave me goosebumps, I tell you."
"I just hope it's someone who deserves it," he said. "It seems it always goes to someone who doesn't need it."
The sale of the ticket at Powers Wine was announced by the Massachusetts state lottery.
Quick-moving lines had formed at convenience stores and gas stations hours before the 11-state drawing as players tried to get a piece of the nearly unimaginable prize.
The jackpot had gotten so high that many people said they couldn't afford not to try. Other states that participate in the lottery are Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
"People who never play are playing now," said Karen Cooley as she waited in line to buy 10 Mega Millions tickets at a store in downtown Atlanta. "I believe I'm going to hit it."
The $290 million is the highest Mega Millions prize in the game's history, exceeding the previous high of $239 million in February.
The biggest single-ticket winner was a Powerball jackpot of $314.9 million awarded on Christmas Day 2002 to a West Virginia man. But Mega Millions' predecessor, the Big Game, had a prize of $363 million split between two winning families in May 2000.
Despite 135 million-to-1 odds, a $1 ticket sometimes pays for itself by fueling the hopes of lottery risk-takers who dream of instant wealth, said Ed Story, who filled out a ticket form in Atlanta.
"I saw a guy walk in, and he didn't even know how to play a ticket. He put down $50," he said.