A flimsy little piece of paper that crossed the counter of a convenience store on a country road in South Carolina is now worth $1.537 billion, so lottery officials could hardly be blamed Wednesday if anxiety tinged their excitement.
They said a single ticket sold at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina, matched all six numbers to win the Mega Millions jackpot. And unless the winner chooses to come forward, the world may never know who won.
The prize is extraordinary by any measure, but particularly so for South Carolina, where it would be enough, if the winner was so generously inclined, to shower roughly $307 on each of the state's five million people. It's about as much as 20 percent of the $8 billion that state lawmakers have to spend each year.
The ticket is worth about $877.8 million in a lump-sum cash payment, which most winners choose to take, rather than collect the full amount in annual payments over three decades.
TV trucks and gawkers flooded the parking lot ahead of a news conference at the KC Mart and Exxon station, which sits at the bend of a road where Greenville's suburban sprawl gives way to farm fields.
The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5. The lucky player overcame miserable odds: The chance of matching all six numbers and winning the top prize is 1 in 302.5 million.