For the Tuesday, December 17 drawing, JoAnn Cooke purchased a Mega Millions ticket at Corner Stop, 220 23rd Street in Columbus. The three-play quick pick ticket contained one play with all five winning white ball numbers (8, 14, 17, 20, 39) from the December 17 drawing for a corresponding prize of $1 million.
This is the first $1 million Mega Millions prize won in Nebraska since the game was modified on October 22, 2013. Previously, the prize for matching five white ball numbers was $250,000.
While claiming their prize on December 26, the Cookes told Nebraska Lottery officials that they were “elated” to win the million-dollar prize. They first thought they might have the winning ticket after their son told them a million-dollar ticket had been sold at Corner Stop. A few days later, JoAnn saw the winning numbers on television and decided to check the ticket. “I checked the numbers, and I told Allen, ‘We won a million dollars,’” said JoAnn. “He didn’t believe me.” The couple has no immediate plans for their prize.
The odds of winning $1 million playing Mega Millions are 1 in 18,492,204, while the overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 14.7.
Also receiving a prize was the store that sold the winning ticket. Nebraska Lottery retailers receive a High Prize Seller Bonus for selling winning high-tier Scratch and Lotto tickets. This bonus is 1% of the prize won, so Corner Stop received $10,000.