The owner of an Arkansas convenience store that sold a $25 million Powerball ticket said Monday he was at first hesitant about selling lottery tickets because of moral concerns.
But now that he's due $50,000 for selling the winning ticket, the owner of Crackerbox Food Store No. 25 was celebrating and planning a donation to his church.
"We'll pay our bills and our tithes and then move on," said Lewis M. Gardner, chairman and owner of the chain of 29 Crackerbox stores around the state.
Arkansas lottery officials said the jackpot winner hadn't stepped forward since Saturday night's drawing.
The winner has 180 days from when the ticket was purchased to claim the prize and can choose between $25 million paid over 29 years or a one-time payment of more than $12 million.
Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue wouldn't say when the ticket was bought but said the winner had picked his or her own numbers — rather than let them be chosen randomly.
The announcement comes a little more than two months after Arkansas began selling tickets for the multistate Powerball game. Arkansas launched its lottery in September and also sells scratch-off and "Cash 3" tickets.
Powerball is played in Arkansas and 30 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Gardner said he voted for the 2008 amendment that authorized the state to sell lottery tickets to pay for college scholarships, but he also said he was reluctant to offer the tickets at his stores.
"I had some hesitation, just morally," he said.
But, Gardner said he ultimately decided, "somebody's going to sell them and we'll just give our part, you know, to the church. It's just more income and more to tithe."
Since Arkansas' lottery launched, the state has sold about $136 million in tickets. About $10 million of that is from Powerball sales. The state is expected to begin selling tickets for the other multistate lottery, Mega Millions, on Jan. 31.
On the Net:
Arkansas Lottery: http://www.myarkansaslottery.com
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