COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s $400 million Powerball jackpot winner paid nearly $16 million in state taxes and $55 million to the federal government last week, the head of the Education Lottery told officials Tuesday.
“We’ve had a lot of good news,” Education Lottery Executive Director Paul Harper Bethea told the state’s Lottery Oversight Committee at a meeting in Columbia.
“This was an exponential win,” Bethea said, adding that she believed the interest in the game had translated into “a bonus for South Carolina, it’s a bonus for education.”
She said the winner, who has chosen to remain anonymous, “has had his money transferred to him.”
A direct cash option for the $399.4 million prize was estimated to be a $233 million payout.
The jackpot was the fourth largest in the history of the Powerball game and the South Carolina man was the only winner in the mid-September Wednesday night drawing.
Bethea says the excitement of the large prize boosted sales in the state by about $2 million.
The winning ticket was bought at a Murphy Express just off Interstate 20 west of Columbia. The store got a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
In May, a Florida widow won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history — a $590 million pot.
Since the Education Lottery began in 2002, Bethea told the panel that it has helped students with more than 1 million college scholarships or grants, and provided $500 million for K-12 education.
Some 500 school buses have been purchased with unclaimed prize money and the jackpots have made millionaires out of 97 winners, Bethea added.
The lottery also transferred $1.4 million back to the state from winners who owed unpaid child support, she said.
Bethea told the panel that by 11:12 p.m. on the night the Powerball numbers were announced at 11 p.m., she knew a winning ticket had been sold in the state.
“I knew we had a ticket that had everything,” she said, but added that but it took several hours before she knew that it was the lone winning number.
By 11:24 p.m., she said she knew where the winning ticket had been sold. That led to many quick calls to her top aides, and appearances on the morning television shows. “It was just a kind of whirlwind kind of day,” she said.
The large jackpots also have produced a change in expectations, Bethea told the panel. While a large jackpot was considered to be in the $100 million range three to four years ago, now “players have gotten accustomed” to prizes of $300 million to $500 million.
Susanne M. Schafer can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/susannemarieap .