- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Lady’s Liquor in La Plata was the center of attention Wednesday when it was discovered that one of two people who hit the $414 million Mega Millions jackpot purchased the ticket at the liquor store on Crain Highway.
That person had not yet come forward as of Thursday afternoon.
Because there were two winning tickets sold nationwide, after taxes the Maryland winner will take home approximately $76.4 million if choosing the cash option, according to a release from the Maryland Lottery. The winning numbers were 11, 19, 24, 33, 51 and Mega Ball 07. The winner picked the numbers; they were not randomly selected by the lottery computer.
The ticket holder isn’t the only one who wins. The retailer who sold the winning jackpot ticket will receive a $100,000 commission.
Lady’s Liquor manager Jayvir Jhala said it felt good to be a part of the Mega Millions excitement. It was a good feeling “to help somebody fulfill their dreams and wishes,” he said.
Jhala said it will be up to the owners as to what they do with the commission money, but likely it would go toward the store in some way. If any money comes his way, he said he and his wife would put it toward their two children’s education.
Jhala’s wife, Devyani, said she and her husband were very excited. Those associated with the store, including the Jhalas, celebrated with a Champagne toast on Wednesday as television cameras rolled and reporters were interviewing people who came to the store to share in the excitement.
No one at the store knows who purchased the ticket. Jayvir Jhala said so many people come through to play the lottery that there is no way to know who bought the winning ticket.
The lottery encourages the ticket holder to sign the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place until ready to claim the prize.
Lottery spokesman Gail Pelovitz said it is very important that the winner sign the back of the ticket. That will ensure no one else can claim the prize.
Winners have 182 days from the date of the drawing to claim their winnings and must do so in person at lottery headquarters in Baltimore.
Pelovitz said those who live in Maryland, whether they play the lottery, stands to benefit from a winning ticket sold in the state.
“It’s always exciting when there is a winner in Maryland,” she said.
For selling the winning ticket, Maryland will receive more than $10.1 million in tax revenue.
Aside from the financial benefit to the state, Pelovitz said it’s exciting “anytime we can show that people really win.”
This is the first Mega Millions jackpot win in Maryland this year, following two Maryland jackpot wins in 2013 when an Anne Arundel County man won $189 million in October and a Mount Airy couple won $26 million in February, according to the lottery agency. So far this year there have been four $1 million Mega Millions second-tier tickets sold in Maryland.
One of those tickets was purchased at Westlake Liquors in Waldorf.
Jay Higgs of La Plata stopped in at Lady’s Liquor on Wednesday and said he heard that someone purchased the winning ticket locally, and “it’s pretty amazing.”
Looking at the crowd at the store, Higgs said it was good to see media outlets in La Plata “for something good instead of something bad.”
He said the last time he saw all the news stations gathered in La Plata was after the tornado in 2002.
Higgs said he was happy to hear that the store would get commission from the win.
“It’s pretty wild,” he said of the excitement. “I wish it was me.”
Joseph Brawner Sr. of La Plata stopped by Wednesday to congratulate Jayvir Jhala on the good news.
Brawner said he has known the Jhala family a long time, and everyone at the store is deserving of the attention and the commission received from the winning sale.
Mega Millions drawings can be seen Tuesday and Friday evenings at 11:22 on WBAL-TV, Channel 11. The multistate game is sold in 45 states and jurisdictions.