Minnesota lottery officials on Thursday afternoon introduced Paul White, 45, of Ham Lake, as the winner of a $149 million share of a $448 million Powerball jackpot.
White said he is an avid lottery player, typically buying scratch-off tickets three to four times a week. He said he almost forgot to buy a Powerball ticket Wednesday night, but stopped at Holiday gas station in Ham Lake and bought five.
He hadn't looked at his tickets until he got a call at work from his girlfriend Thursday morning, and she reminded him to check his numbers.
White is divorced with a 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. He attended a news conference Thursday with his longtime girlfriend, 45-year-old Kimberly Van Reese, who works at a printing company in Brooklyn Park.
"I've been waiting for this day for my entire life," White said.
White doesn't plan to continue working, but said he will wrap up a few things before leaving his job as an electrical contractor in downtown Minneapolis. His soon-to-be-former boss also attended the news conference.
Both of White's parents are still alive. He said his father recently celebrated his 80th birthday.
"They don't need my money per se," White said. "Imagine what it's like to say, 'Go pick out your own car, go pick out your own house, whatever you want.'"
White says he plans to stay in Ham Lake and is seeking out a lawyer to help him handle affairs.
Three jackpot-winning tickets were sold, one in Minnesota and two in New Jersey, the Associated Press reports.
Wednesday night's jackpot in the multistate lottery had climbed to an estimated $448 million by the time of the 10 p.m. drawing – it rose from $425 million earlier in the day as hype about the massive jackpot fed a ticket-buying frenzy.
The winning numbers: 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and a Powerball of 32.
Powerball spokeswoman Debbie Hoffmann told the AP that Minnesota has had 21 other jackpot winners over the years. The winner has a year from the drawing date to claim the big prize.
Did you buy a ticket? The Associated Press reports in another story that lots of lottery players only buy when the jackpots soar.
Here was the drawing from Wednesday night:
A $448 million jackpot would be the fourth-biggest for any U.S. lottery, Reuters reports.
The largest jackpot in U.S. history remains at $656 million, won in the Mega Millions lottery in March 2012, split among winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.
The top single-winner Powerball jackpot of $590.5 million was claimed just two months ago by an 84-year-old Florida woman. She opted for the lump-sum payment of nearly $371 million.