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workers thought they won powerball

Restaurant workers mistakenly think they won US Powerball jackpot

By Lucy Cormack
  • US Powerball worth $2.1b now open to Australians
  • Best numbers to pick to avoid sharing the jackpot

It is not only the lotto numbers that matter when you put your hand in a jackpot, as one group of restaurant workers in New Jersey learned.

Having pooled their money to purchase $US210 ($302) worth of tickets for last Saturday’s $US949 million ($1.37 billion) US Powerball jackpot, the workers thought they had hit gold when their ticket matched the winning numbers.

But the momentary celebration was cut short when they realised they had mistakenly compared Wednesday’s winning numbers to their Saturday ticket.

“All the numbers matched our tickets. Then pandemonium hit. There was just so much joy, and I can’t put into words the feelings of euphoria that we all felt,” Charles Poveromo told the New York Post.

These restaurant workers had a wonderful surprise – and then a gut-wrenching realisation – when they mistakenly thought they had won the US Powerball jackpot.

Mr Poveromo was one of the 42 employees at Grissini’s Restaurant in Englewood Cliffs who had formed a small syndicate for the $US949 million jackpot, which went unclaimed and has resulted in the record-breaking $US1.5 billion jackpot ($2.1 billion) being drawn on Thursday afternoon.

Video footage from the restaurant shows the employee ecstatic when they matched the numbers to their ticket, with one dishwasher reportedly tearing off his apron, screaming, “I’m outta here, I quit!”

After double-checking the numbers 20 minutes later, the error became clear.

“When we found out, it was like a balloon deflating,” Mr Poveromo said.

Americans scrambling to buy lottery tickets before Wednesday’s draw. Credit: AP

It may have only lasted a short 20 minutes, but the restaurant worker said “it was real.”

“It’s a shame we didn’t win, but I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.”

Gibraltar-based operator Lottoland has captured headlines in the past few days after giving Australians the chance to punt on the $US1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in the US for the first time. Credit: AP

The employees are still playing in Thursday’s lottery, with hopes of snagging the $US1.5 billion jackpot.

Even in Australia punters are feeling lotto-fever, after the Lottoland website was awarded a licence to allow Australians to place a bet on the result of the lottery rather than enter the draw itself, with the same shot at the winnings as a US participant.

But a mad scramble to take the Lottoland option in the past 24 hours has caused the site to crash.

Managing Director Luke Brill said 107,000 clients had signed up in the last day and the site had crashed – but he expected to have it back up and running later on Wednesday afternoon.

“We only got our licence on Christmas Eve and figuratively only opened the doors a week ago,” he said.

“This has blown all our expectations out of the window.”

Mr Brill said it proved that Australians loved a punt and also a lottery.

“We’re just hoping someone from Australia wins it,” he said.

These restaurant workers had a wonderful surprise – and then a gut-wrenching realisation – when they mistakenly thought they had won the US Powerball jackpot.

Workers thought they won powerball

RALEIGH – They work together, they play the lottery together, and now a group of 12 medical center co-workers is celebrating a $150,000 Powerball prize together.

Every week, for the last six years, they’ve pooled their money to get Powerball tickets. They call themselves the Fantastic 12.

“We each put in three dollars,” Laurie Ellsworth of New Bern said. “If we win something, we reinvest it the next week.”

Keeping with tradition, Ellsworth collected the money from her co-workers and stopped at the Circle K on New Bern Highway in Jacksonville and bought Powerball tickets for the Nov. 16 drawing. She checked the tickets three days later using the NC Education Lottery Official Mobile App.

“When I saw that we won, I started screaming,” Ellsworth said. “I thought we’d won $30,000, but then Will checked the numbers again and said we’d actually won $150,000. I had to call the lottery just to make sure we weren’t seeing things.”

“I was pretty shocked, when I saw the numbers,” William Cotton of New Bern said. “It was pure excitement.”

They rushed to share the good news by calling and texting the rest of the group. Not everyone believed them at first.

“I thought they were pulling a prank,” Stanford Weaver of New Bern said. “It wasn’t until I saw the ticket for myself that I believed it.”

The co-workers claimed their prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters. They split the prize, and after required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home the following:

Laurie Ellsworth of New Bern: $8,883

Michael Turney of Trent Woods: $8,840

Thomas Brouhard III of Kinston: $ 8,840

William Cotton of New Bern: $8,840

Joseph Smalldridge of New Bern: $ 8,840

Edward Tripp of Cove City: $8,840

James Migliorato of New Bern: $8,840

John Pate of Vanceboro: $8,840

Stephen Mills of Vanceboro: $8,840

Frederick Williamson Jr. of Vanceboro: $8,840

David Raines of Vanceboro: $8,840

Stanford Weaver of New Bern: $8,840

The group has a variety of different plans for the money. Some plan to pay off bills and invest. Others plan to start college funds for their children. One even plans to get a new kayak with his share of the money.

The winning ticket matched n umbers on four of the white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. The prize tripled when the 3X multiplier was drawn. The ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. The jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing is $130 million or $89.6 million cash.

Ticket sales from draw games like Powerball make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $700 million a year for education. For details on how lottery funds made a difference in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties last year, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.

RALEIGH – They work together, they play the lottery together, and now a group of 12 medical center co-workers is celebrating a $150,000 Powerball prize together. Every week, for the last six years, they’ve pooled their money to get Powerball tickets. They call themselves the Fantastic 12.