Winning $1.5 Billion Mega Millions Ticket Sold In Simpsonville, SC

Thursday October 25th 2018

A town in South Carolina is buzzing after it was revealed that the sole winning ticket from Tuesday’s $1.5 billion Mega Millions draw was bought there. The residents of Simpsonville are now eagerly awaiting more news about the first ever Mega Millions winner from the state.

Winning Store to Receive $50,000 Bonus

The store that sold the ticket was the KC Mart #7 at 303 Lee Vaughn Road in Simpsonville. The store’s owner, CJ Patel, said he received a phone call at 5am on Wednesday informing him that his outlet was the one that had sold the billion-dollar ticket.

It didn’t take long for the media to descend on Simpsonville, and speaking to reporters, Patel said, “I can’t even count that number. It’s good attention and good for the community you know. Whoever the winner is hopefully spends that money locally and [does] some good stuff for the community,"

Patel will receive a $50,000 bonus before tax for selling the winning ticket, the maximum the South Carolina Education Lottery awards. He said he intends to share the money with his co-workers.

Simpsonville Mayor Leads Celebrations

Simpsonville is a small city with a population of around 22,000 residents, and is located on the I-385 around 90 miles northwest of South Carolina’s state capital, Columbia. Along with the nearby cities of Mauldin and Fountain Inn, it forms the “Golden Strip”, so named because of the area’s economic stability and low unemployment, brought about by a manufacturing boom in the 1950s.

"We are such a warm community,” Janice Curtis, the mayor of Simpsonville, said after news of the winning store broke. “If someone needs something, we are there. If someone needs celebrating, and this is certainly an occasion to celebrate, we are there."

When asked what she thought about the winning ticket originating in Simpsonville, the mayor said, “I about fell out! I had no idea. Can you believe it? One ticket! Here!"

The Winner Could Stay Anonymous

Despite the excitement around the town, it and the rest of the world may never know the identity of the winner, as South Carolina is one of only eight states that allow jackpot winners to remain anonymous. Hogan Brown, the Executive Director of the SC Education Lottery, appeared on television on Wednesday morning to talk about why he thinks it’s important that players should not be forced to go public with their win.

“It's very intrusive what happens [when a lottery winner goes public], and someone could be hurt, someone could be threatened. They can decide to expose themselves to publicity if they want to.” Brown’s concerns arise after a number of high-profile cases in recent years in which lottery winners have been targeted by criminals after details of their windfalls were covered in the media.

The other states that allow players to remain anonymous are Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas. In all other states that participate in Mega Millions, a winner’s name and town or city of residence are disclosed. They also usually have to participate in press conferences and fulfil other media obligations.

The wait is on now to find out which option the potential new billionaire will take. Given the magnitude of the win and the saturation of media coverage, however, it would be surprising to see them come forward publicly. The winner has 180 days from the date of the draw to claim their prize.

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