By Laura Houston
Somebody out there is $200,000 richer thanks to the New York State Lottery. The question is, who? The fact of the matter is, if you bought a Powerball ticket at the Sag Harbor 7-Eleven within the last few weeks you may be getting an early Christmas present this year.
According to 7-Eleven manager Saqib Hameed the New York State Lottery informed the staff on Thursday, December 2 that a second prize Powerball ticket was purchased at the store. The winner has yet to come forward.
“I love it,” said Hameed about having a winner from his store. “I hope they’re from the Sag Harbor area, we want it to be someone from here. That’s what it’s all about.”
For $1, a person can play Powerball by selecting five numbers out of a set of 59 (represented by white balls during the drawing) plus a “Powerball” number (selected from a set of 39 red balls on drawing night) and filling those numbers in on a play card at a lottery retailer. The computer can also randomly select the numbers for a player with the “Quick Picks” option.
To win the jackpot, all five numbers plus the Powerball number must match the winning six numbers drawn. If the jackpot is not won, the prize pool money is carried forward and added to the next Powerball jackpot. The second prize (in this case, $200,000) is won when all five numbers match but the Powerball number does not. Prizes continue to ninth place with an average $3 pay out. Jackpot drawings are held twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Though the lotto folks would not say what time or day the winning ticket was purchased and exactly which drawing the ticket won for, it would seem the Wednesday, December 1 drawing is a good bet since the lottery called the store the following day to inform staff they had a winner for that week and only one drawing has taken place by that time.
When asked how many people play Powerball at the Sag Harbor store, Hameed answered with, “What’s the population of the town?”
With 1,500 Powerball tickets sold weekly at the Sag Harbor 7-Eleven and the Sag Harbor population being around 2,500, Hamid isn’t actually too far off.
This is the second time a major payoff has come from the Sag Harbor 7-Eleven. The first instance was in 2003 when a summer resident won $30,000. Lesser prizes are won “on and off,” according to Hameed with pay outs between a few dollars and a few hundred dollars.
But there is always the possibility that the lucky winner will never be known locally. When the prize money is over $500, the winner has to claim their winnings directly through the New York State Lottery, not through the store where the ticket was purchased.
“It’s not uncommon for winners to go unknown,” says Debbie Edwards, a business consultant for 7-Eleven stores. “Some people buy tickets and don’t know where they put them and some don’t want to be known.”
As it turns out, the Sag Harbor 7-Eleven is not the only lucky store on the East End. A Westhampton 7-Eleven has had two major winners in the past few years. In April of 2010 a Westhampton man won a $250,000 grand prize from an instant game ticket and a Westhampton woman won $3 million dollars in scratch off game in March of 2008.
“This time of year, everyone needs a little extra money,” says Edwards, “Why not give it a shot?”