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Sunday, 24 June, 2001, 19:40 GMT 20:40 UK
Californian sitting on $141m fortune
Billboard advertising the lottery prize
Roadside billboards helped build up the excitement
Someone, somewhere, in California has just won at least $70m in the state's 'Superlotto Plus' lottery.

And if they choose to take their winnings staggered over the next 26 years, their winnings will be worth $141m.

Lottery officials confirmed on Sunday that one winning ticket was sold in what is believed to be the biggest state jackpot in the history of the United States.

The winning ticket was sold in San Jose, but the identity of its owner will not be known until the ticket is redeemed.

Ticket fever

California has been gripped by lottery fever in recent days, provoking a rush to buy tickets.

On Friday, 84,000 tickets were sold every minute, the Associated Press news agency reported, pushing up the value of the winnings.

"The sales pace is much higher than we thought it would be," California Lottery spokeswoman Norma Minas said.

In the previous nine draws, no-one has chosen the correct six numbers.

And if you have got a Super Lotto ticket in your pocket and have not checked it yet, the winning numbers are: - 3, 22, 43, 44 and 45 with the Meganumber being 8.

Earlier this month in the US, a 40-year-old man came forward to claim a multi-million-dollar lottery payout that had nearly expired.

Computer technician Melvin B Milligan said he had fished the ticket - worth $23.7m (16.8m) - out of a drawer after hearing news reports about the jackpot.

Later the laid-back winner calmly put the lucky ticket in the post - leaving lottery officials astonished at his faith in the US Postal Service.

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See also:

15 Jun 01 | Americas
Last-minute lottery winner bags $23m
06 May 00 | Americas
Jumbo jackpot swells lottery fever
02 Mar 00 | Africa
SA lottery to bring in 'billions'
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