Berg Beteda shows his just purchased lottery tickets in Los Angeles, California on October 23, 2018. AFP / Frederic J. BROWN
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A flimsy little piece of paper that crossed the counter of a convenience store on a country road in South Carolina is now worth $1.537 billion, so lottery officials could hardly be blamed Wednesday if anxiety tinged their excitement.They said a single ticket sold at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina, matched all six numbers to win the U.S. Mega Millions jackpot. The prize is extraordinary by any measure, but particularly so for South Carolina, where it would be enough, if the winner was so generously inclined, to shower roughly $307 on each of the state's 5 million people.An earlier Mega Millions estimate of $1.6 billion would have been a world record for lotteries, but actual sales came in below the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot prize shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January of 2016 .The winner also has up to 180 days to claim the prize.The Mega Millions jackpot grew so large because no player had matched all six numbers and won the top prize since July 24, when 11 co-workers from California won a $543 million prize.
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