LANSING, August 31, 2012 – Donald Lawson always figured he’d win the Michigan Lottery someday. Maybe even a big prize, like $10,000. But never did he think he would win $337 million!
“I couldn’t breathe,” Lawson said, in describing what it felt like when he realized he had a
Powerball ticket worth millions of dollars. “I had to look at the ticket twice.”
The $337 million prize represents the third largest jackpot in Powerball history. Lawson is
the second Michigan player to win the jackpot since Michigan began selling Powerball
tickets in 2010. He had several wagers on the winning ticket so in addition to matching all
the numbers in one wager to win the jackpot, the lucky player also matched just the
Powerball on another wager, giving him an additional $4 in prize money.
Lawson, a Lapeer resident, said he hasn’t adjusted to being a millionaire–times 337.
“I feel exactly the same,” he said. “When it sets in, maybe I’ll feel different. It’s
Lawson confessed that so far he hasn’t thought too much about how to spend his money.
“I have to figure it out. But I will help my family, take care of my children and take care of myself. I can get things I’ve never been able to get before and still have money left over.”
The first item on Lawson’s shopping list is a vacation—“to wherever I want to go!”
Lawson learned of his good fortune on August 16 after his daughter told him the winning
ticket from the previous night’s drawing had been sold in Lapeer. Working backwards and
matching the Powerball first, he checked his numbers and realized that he had a winner.
“I called my sister and told her to quit her job and come home. She laughed and said, ‘Did
you win the Lottery?’ and I said yes!”
The winner then decided to have some fun with his mother.
“I called my mom and told her I won $200,000 in the Lottery and she didn’t believe me.
Finally I said, ‘Okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I won $337 million!’”
Lawson elected the lump sum option, which is one prize of $224.6 million, less taxes (25
percent federal and 4.35 percent state). The final prize amount is approximately $158.7
Lawson picked his own numbers, 6-27-46-51-56 and Powerball number 21, but they are
not ones that he consistently plays. He said he was “guided from above” when filling out
his bet slip.
Prior to claiming his prize, Lawson first tucked the ticket in a Bible, then stored it in a safety deposit box.
The Sunoco Station at 1489 N. Main St., Lapeer, which sold Lawson the winning ticket, will receive a $50,000 bonus commission.
Lawson’s Powerball win is the largest single jackpot prize awarded in Michigan, surpassing
the $208 million Mega Millions prize awarded to Ralph and Mary Stebbins in 2005.
Michigan’s previous Powerball jackpot prize of $128.6 million was claimed by Team Victory of southeast Michigan on November 12, 2010.
The $337 million win is the third largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded. The top prize of
$365 million was won February 18, 2006, by ConAgra Foods Co-Workers of Nebraska.
The second largest prize, $340 million, was won October 19, 2005 by the Chaney and
West Families of Oregon.
The win is also the seventh largest US jackpot ever. The largest prize was March 30,
2012, in which three winners shared a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Over $114 million in Powerball prizes have been won by lucky Michigan Lottery players
since ticket sales began in the state on January 31, 2010 through June 30, 2012.
Powerball offers nine different ways to win with prizes starting at $4 for matching the
Powerball only and increasing to the jackpot prize.
Michigan Lottery tickets are sold at nearly 11,000 retailer locations across the state.