New York Powerball Winner of $343 Million Played the Same Numbers for 25 Years

Thursday November 15th 2018

A 67-year-old man from New York City has come forward as the winner of a $343.9 million Powerball prize. He’s the biggest jackpot winner in New York Lottery history. Robert Bailey was one of two jackpot winners in the October 27 drawing; the other was single mom Lerynne West of Iowa.


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Amazingly, the Harlem native has been playing the same numbers for more than 25 years. "A family member gave me the numbers over 25 years ago and I faithfully played them," the retired government employee said.

Bailey bought two tickets from the West Harlem Deli on Fifth Ave. at 126th St. – a spur-of-the-moment decision that would change his life. “I was taking care of a friend,” he said. “I jumped out of the car because it was raining, ran in there, played my numbers and ran out.”

The winning numbers in the October 27 drawing were 8, 12, 13, 19 and 27, with 4 drawn for the Powerball.

On the night of the drawing, “I was watching regular college football,” Bailey remembered. “Around 11:30 at night I checked my numbers online. When I saw the 8 and the 12, I was shocked. I didn’t notice the Powerball right away. Sure enough, I was blessed. I was just in shock,” he added.

"I said to myself, 'These look like my numbers.' I tried to remain calm and sat down to watch some shows I had on my DVR,” he said. “I stayed up all night and waited to see how many people were going to win. I noticed I was one of two winners, the other was in Iowa.”

Bailey took his winnings as a lump sum payment of $198,086,518. After withholdings, he will receive $125,396,690, according to the New York Gaming Commission.

He would have preferred to remain anonymous, but New York State law prevents claiming lottery prizes privately. "But you have to watch out for your safety, that’s the main thing," Bailey said. "With any type of money, and this type of money also."

Bailey has already spoken with a lawyer and financial adviser about his winnings. So what will he do with his millions?

The single dad revealed that his dream is to take a trip to Vegas. But beyond that, he has a practical attitude to his new fortune.

"I still want to be me; I can’t let money change me. But I want to do the right thing and take care of it for the next generation in my family," Bailey said. "That’s why I went to a lawyer and a financial adviser first and sat down with them and talked business."

Bailey does have plans to enjoy his new fortune, including giving his mom a special gift. "I'm gonna get a house, especially for my mother. God bless her, she's still around," he said. "I definitely want to travel a little bit and hopefully I make some good investments that will work for me and my family." He will also donate to charity.

Astonishingly, Bailey previously had a substantial lottery win playing his lucky numbers, once scooping $30,000 on a Take 5 ticket. And he has no plans to mess with a good thing. He will keep playing his numbers "until this train runs out."

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