2 win $355 million jackpot, 1 SC ticket worth $1 million

PHOENIX (AP) - At least two people are waking up to find themselves millions of dollars richer.

The holders of a ticket sold in Idaho and another in Washington state will be sharing Mega Millions' $355 million jackpot from Tuesday night's drawing, lottery officials said Wednesday.

The prize is the fourth-largest in U.S. history and the second-largest in Mega Millions' history, said Arizona Lottery spokeswoman Cindy Esquer. The lottery's prize of $390 million in March 2007 remains the nation's richest on record.

Jackpot winners for the Mega Millions game have to match five regular numbers plus the "Mega ball." The winning numbers were 4, 8, 15, 25 and 47, with 42 being the "Mega ball" number.

The two winners from Tuesday will each get $177.5 million. Besides the jackpot, prizes range from $2 to $250,000.

Two tickets sold in South Carolina matched five of the six numbers. One of the tickets is worth $1 million. The ticket was purchased from Kangaroo Express on Center St. in Folly Beach. The ticket holder purchased the Megaplier® for an extra $1, to multiply the $250,000 Match 5 prize to $1 million.

A second ticket matched all five white ball numbers to be worth $250,000 was sold at the Lowry Food Mart in Seneca.

No one has ever won the Mega Millions jackpot in South Carolina, but that didn't stop hundreds of hopefuls from trying to get their hands on a little piece of paper they hoped would make them a multi-millionaire.

"Out of these two tickets, I've got to get it," said lottery player Leslie Wright.  

Avid lottery players are hoping to start 2011 with deep pockets. Even though the odds of winning the entire Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 175 million, some say the chance of losing isn't enough to keep them at bay. In fact, many are digging down deep to pay up for a lottery ticket they hope will pay off.

"I first started playing cause I need a new car," said Wright. "I need a new car and I need money. Everybody all over the world needs money. Times are hard." 

Those hard times aren't affecting the popularity of the Mega Millions game, which lottery officials say started only a year ago and is gaining momentum.

For customers like Ricky Bobby, who has played the lottery for four years but never won, the option of either a $12 million-a-year payout over 26 years or a one-time payment of more than $208 million after taxes is too good an offer to pass up. And he's already making plans for how he'll spend it.

"What I would do with it first, I would pay all of my debt off and I would build a shelter for the homeless," said Bobby.

The last time a Multi-State Lottery Association lottery saw $300 million was in August of 2007. A year prior to that saw a jackpot of $365 million.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.