Tuesday's Mega Millions lottery jackpot winner continued an incredible streak for the state of New York, becoming the second Mega Millions winner in a row from the Empire State.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg for the lucky streak for New York lottery players. Just 10 days before someone passing through New York City's historic Penn Station bought a ticket worth a $58 million Mega Millions jackpot, another New York City lottery player won a $136 million top prize in the Powerball lottery.
But back in November, a retired school principal from upstate New York started the incredible streak, winning a massive $326 million Mega Millions jackpot. And even that isn't the most remarkable part of the story.
The retired principal, 80-year-old Harold Diamond, resides in Sullivan County, New York. This week's Mega Millions winner, real estate agent Tammy Pratt, 47, also lives in the same county.
That's right, even with the odds against winning the Mega Millions jackpot at almost 259 million to one, three of the last four Mega Millions winning tickets have been purchased in New York — and two of those three have come from the same county, with a population of only about 77,000 people.
Since Mega Millions began selling tickets in 2002 — 15 years ago — New York state has seen 32 jackpot winners. Four of those, 12.5 percent, have come in the last four months.
There's no evidence that the good folks of Sullivan County buy Mega Millions tickets at a significantly higher rate than anyone else. In fact, February 27 winner Pratt — who stepped forward on March 18 to claim her $126 million jackpot — said the she buys lottery tickets only when the top prize tops $100 million. Even then, she'll buy only one ticket.
Except this time, when a "gut feeling" told her to splurge — a little.
"I normally buy only one ticket when the jackpot is high, but this time I bought $4 worth... I just had a feeling I should get more than one."On March 24, one Mega Millions player buying a ticket at World Books in New York City's Penn Station hit the jackpot to the tune of $58 million. That winner has not yet come forward, but whoever it is, the lucky ticket holder now owns the first jackpot winner sold at that store — even though World Books is the New York lottery champion, selling more tickets than any other location in the state.
The next Mega Millions drawing takes place Tuesday, March 31, with a jackpot of $20 million.
[Image: New York State Lottery]