We just found out who won the record-setting $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot last fall — but most of his details will remain private.
California Lottery officials revealed in a Tuesday press conference that the winner's name is Edwin Castro. While winners in some states can choose to stay anonymous, laws in California require lottery officials to publicize the winner's full name.
Like most big winners, Castro chose the cash option of $997.6 million. The full $2.04 billion sum is for the annuity option, which is paid out over 29 years.
There's still a lot of curiosity about Castro — and his plans for the massive sum — but other details will remain private. Castro did not appear at Tuesday's event and declined the opportunity to do media interviews.
California Lottery spokesperson Carolyn Becker read out a statement from Castro, who said he was "shocked and ecstatic" to have won but that the "real winner" is the state's public education system. The Powerball jackpot rolled on for more than three months, racking up a record-setting $156.3 million for public schools and colleges.
"As someone who received the rewards of being educated in the California public education system, it’s gratifying to hear that as a result of my win, the California school system greatly benefits as well," Castro's statement read.
Most lottery jackpot winners stay anonymous if they can, fearing unwanted attention and unscrupulous grabs for the money. Those in favor of identifying winners argue that it helps maintain transparency and public trust in the games.
Castro had a year to come forward, so it's no surprise that it took a few months to get to this point. Lottery officials also usually recommend you take some time to calm down and talk to a financial planner before rushing to the nearest lottery office.
The other winner
Castro wasn't the only one to get lucky. The owner of the gas station where the ticket was sold, Joe's Service Center in Altadena, got a maximum $1 million bonus. Joseph Chahayed told the Los Angeles Times that he'll share the money with his family and grandkids, who help run the store.
"When they told me, I didn’t believe it," Chahayed told the paper in November. "That’s a lot of money."
A record prize
The $2.04 billion jackpot was by far the largest lottery prize ever won, though Castro chose the smaller cash option and taxes will take a huge bite of the winnings. The jackpot shattered the previous record of $1.586 billion.
The odds of winning any Powerball jackpot jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. The game is played in 45 states and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.