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Restaurant workers mistakenly think they won US Powerball jackpot

By Lucy Cormack
  • US Powerball worth $2.1b now open to Australians
  • Best numbers to pick to avoid sharing the jackpot

It is not only the lotto numbers that matter when you put your hand in a jackpot, as one group of restaurant workers in New Jersey learned.

Having pooled their money to purchase $US210 ($302) worth of tickets for last Saturday’s $US949 million ($1.37 billion) US Powerball jackpot, the workers thought they had hit gold when their ticket matched the winning numbers.

But the momentary celebration was cut short when they realised they had mistakenly compared Wednesday’s winning numbers to their Saturday ticket.

“All the numbers matched our tickets. Then pandemonium hit. There was just so much joy, and I can’t put into words the feelings of euphoria that we all felt,” Charles Poveromo told the New York Post.

These restaurant workers had a wonderful surprise – and then a gut-wrenching realisation – when they mistakenly thought they had won the US Powerball jackpot.

Mr Poveromo was one of the 42 employees at Grissini’s Restaurant in Englewood Cliffs who had formed a small syndicate for the $US949 million jackpot, which went unclaimed and has resulted in the record-breaking $US1.5 billion jackpot ($2.1 billion) being drawn on Thursday afternoon.

Video footage from the restaurant shows the employee ecstatic when they matched the numbers to their ticket, with one dishwasher reportedly tearing off his apron, screaming, “I’m outta here, I quit!”

After double-checking the numbers 20 minutes later, the error became clear.

“When we found out, it was like a balloon deflating,” Mr Poveromo said.

Americans scrambling to buy lottery tickets before Wednesday’s draw. Credit: AP

It may have only lasted a short 20 minutes, but the restaurant worker said “it was real.”

“It’s a shame we didn’t win, but I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.”

Gibraltar-based operator Lottoland has captured headlines in the past few days after giving Australians the chance to punt on the $US1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in the US for the first time. Credit: AP

The employees are still playing in Thursday’s lottery, with hopes of snagging the $US1.5 billion jackpot.

Even in Australia punters are feeling lotto-fever, after the Lottoland website was awarded a licence to allow Australians to place a bet on the result of the lottery rather than enter the draw itself, with the same shot at the winnings as a US participant.

But a mad scramble to take the Lottoland option in the past 24 hours has caused the site to crash.

Managing Director Luke Brill said 107,000 clients had signed up in the last day and the site had crashed – but he expected to have it back up and running later on Wednesday afternoon.

“We only got our licence on Christmas Eve and figuratively only opened the doors a week ago,” he said.

“This has blown all our expectations out of the window.”

Mr Brill said it proved that Australians loved a punt and also a lottery.

“We’re just hoping someone from Australia wins it,” he said.

These restaurant workers had a wonderful surprise – and then a gut-wrenching realisation – when they mistakenly thought they had won the US Powerball jackpot.

Moment workers at NJ restaurant think they’ve won Powerball

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The horrifying moment New Jersey restaurant workers thought they had won the Powerball only to realize they bought their tickets for the WRONG day ]]>