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$758 million Powerball ticket sold in Massachusetts

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Powerball will be paying out the largest single jackpot ever in North America.

A winning ticket for Wednesday’s $758.7 million grand prize was sold in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and the lucky lady has come forward, the Associated Press reported.

Lottery winnings are taxed like income.  The IRS taxes the top income bracket 39.6%. And the government will withhold 25% of that before the money ever gets to the winner. The rest has to be paid at tax time.

The top prize of $758.7 million is available only if the winner chooses to take the loot in 30 annual payments. But nearly everyone chooses to take a lump sum payment which came to $480.5 million.

The Massachusetts State Lottery had announced around 2:30 a.m. Thursday that a convenience store in Watertown, near Boston, had sold the winning ticket. But shortly before 8 a.m., the lottery said it had made a mistake, and that the winning ticket was sold across the state at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, in Western Massachusetts.

Bob Bolduc,the owner of the store, says he’s donating the store’s $50,000 prize to several local charities.

He saysonce they heard that the winning ticket was sold Wednesday afternoon, store workers looked it up on the surveillance video and believe the winner was a middle-aged woman.

Bolduc says they’re happy for the customer, and happy for the charities.

Across the country, there are likely numerous people who won $1 million or more for having the five numbers other than the Powerball. Secondary prizes go all the way down to $4 for those who had only the Powerball number correct. A total of $135 million in prize money is due to 9.4 million other ticket buyers who didn't win the jackpot. But history suggests many of those buyers likely do not realize they won the smaller prizes and will never claim their winnings.

Two other Powerball jackpots have passed the $400 million mark so far in 2017. A $448 million prize was claimed in June, and a $435 million jackpot was won in February. Mega Millions had a $393 jackpot winner on Aug. 12.

The only prize that's ever topped the $1 billion mark was claimed in January 2016 -- a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot that grew over several months and was split three ways. The winning tickets were sold in Tennessee, California and Florida.

Both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are available in all but six states - Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.

The odds have always been long for landing a Powerball jackpot. But it became even more difficult recently -- thanks to a rule change in October 2015 that tweaked the odds.

Chances of picking all six winning numbers currently stand at about one in 292 million.

That means you are actually more likely to be killed by an asteroid (1 in 700,000), be struck by lightning while drowning (1 in 183 million) or give birth to quadruplets (1 in 729,000).