Anoka County couple wins largest Hot Lotto jackpot in state history

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An Anoka County couple is $11.7 million richer after purchasing the winning Hot Lotto ticket at an East Bethel Shell station Saturday afternoon.

Joe Meath and his wife Rhonda are bringing home the largest jackpot the game has ever paid out in Minnesota, according to the state lottery. The Minnesota Lottery verified the couple's winning ticket Monday, and introduced them as the state's newest millionaires in an afternoon news conference.

Joe Meath, 53, who retired from Xcel Energy three years ago after suffering a back injury, says he plays the lottery every week, but this is the first time he's won big, FOX 9 reports.

“We’re just ordinary people,” Rhonda Meath, 51, told the Star Tribune. She says she won't quit her job at the Lake Elmo Inn. “We’re going to do what we do.”

They plan to give money to their children and grandchildren, FOX 9 notes.

The downside of winning the lottery is the amount of money the IRS takes in taxes from the winnings, Forbes notes. But for the Meaths, it's like they hit the jackpot twice – the required taxes on the prize, totaling 32.25 percent or roughly $3.7 million, are being paid for by the lottery. This is the case for all Hot Lotto jackpots, unlike other big name lottery games, according to the Hot Lotto website.

The winning numbers from Saturday night’s drawing were 1-2-3-25-30 and the Hot Ball of 19.

Lottery officials said the Meaths are the 11th Hot Lotto jackpot winners in Minnesota, and their prize is the largest. The last time a winning Hot Lotto ticket was sold in Minnesota was March 2012, the jackpot was worth $2.99 million. The record Hot Lotto jackpot is $19.97 million, according to USA Lottery.

Hot Lotto is played in 15 states and the District of Columbia. A Hot Lotto ticket is $1 and players choose five numbers from one to 47 and one Hot Ball number from one to 19. The jackpot starts at $1 million and grows each week until someone wins, according to the Minnesota State Lottery.

South Dakota Lottery officials told KELO that a ticket sold in Hot Springs is worth $90,000 – the winning ticket matched all five numbers, but missed the Hot Ball number. The winner’s prize tripled because they purchased the $1 Sizzler option, KELO notes.

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