RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Lottery officials awaited word Thursday from the holder of a winning $217 million Powerball ticket that could have some air miles on it: It was purchased at Richmond International Airport.
Up to 10,000 travelers pass through the suburban airport daily, and all go by the self-service machine where the winning numbers were played. The ticket apparently wasn't held by an airport employee.
"We've taken a roll call, and everybody we've expected to show up has shown up," said Troy Bell, spokesman for the airport. A large jackpot, he said, often sees workers pool to buy lottery tickets. Skycaps who are tipped in cash are likely buyers of lottery tickets.
"We could have had a whole crew wiped out if the right group won," Bell said with a laugh.
The winning numbers were: 5-27-36-38-41. The Powerball was 12.
The Virginia Lottery said the winners of large jackpots, such as the one up for grabs in Wednesday night's drawing, often don't rush to claim their fortune.
"It's still early," said John Hagerty, a spokesman. "It's not unusual when there's a jackpot of this size that the winner would take some time to get their financial ducks in order."
He advised the holder not to wait a second longer to do one thing.
"Whoever has that ticket -- before you jump up and down, before you scream and yell, before you do anything -- sign the back of that ticket," Hagerty said. That establishes the buyer as the ticket's owner and prevents someone else from cashing in if it is lost, he said.
The jackpot is the second largest ever won in Virginia. The state's largest jackpot winner is J.R. Triplett of Winchester, who won a $239 million Mega Millions prize in 2004.
The winner or winners can receive the full amount in 30 annual payments or take a one-time cash payment of about $136 million before taxes. After taxes, the jackpot would be about $97 million.
The holder of the winning ticket has 180 days from the drawing to claim the prize, and it must be presented to Virginia Lottery officials, Hagerty said.
Unclaimed winnings go to the Virginia Literary Fund, which is used for education-related purposes such as school construction.
Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sszkotakap.