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Lebanon's Hometown Gas & Grill cashes in bonus after selling winning lottery ticket

On Wednesday, a $50K check was awarded to the owner and staff of the Maine gas station that sold last month's winning $1.35B Mega Millions Jackpot ticket.

LEBANON, MAINE, Maine — If you didn't know where Lebanon, Maine was a few weeks ago, you may not be alone.

But after the Hometown Gas & Grill sold last month's winning $1.35 billion Mega Millions Jackpot ticket, the town made headlines across the globe and put itself on the map.

"I was getting messages from friends in Australia [telling me] that I made the television in Australia, so it was certainly a worldwide event," Owner Fred Cotreau said.

The Maine State Lottery presented Cotreau and his staff with a $50,000 lottery bonus after selling the winning ticket.

“[It] just goes to show it doesn’t matter where you are, anybody can win," Michael Boardman, Deputy Director of the Maine State Lottery, said. "[It] doesn’t matter where you buy your ticket, everybody has the same chance.”

The lottery fever in Lebanon hasn't slowed down in the weeks since the news of the winning ticket went public. 

"I was surprised that the lottery machine got busier after we sold the ticket," Cotreau added.

Employees like Amanda Downs have noticed business has picked up in the last few weeks and each shift has a new sense of excitement.

"We had people that have never played the lottery, start trying to play the lottery, so that was fun explaining to them how to play," she added.

Being from the area, Downs said the excitement surrounding the jackpot win has brought a lot of positivity to the town.

"Now, [Lebanon] is known," she added.

The million—or billion-dollar—question left to answer is: who is the winner?

Credit: NCM

Boardman said it's not unusual for jackpot winners to take a few months before coming forward to collect their winnings. The time, he said, is typically used for the winner to speak with tax attorneys and consult financial planners.

"We really hope that’s what’s happening right now," he added.

Whoever does cash the ticket can do so publicly, or privately through a trust, Boardman said. Either way, and even if the winner is not a Maine resident, they will still need to go to the state's lottery office in Augusta to cash in their ticket.

They have until January to claim their billion-dollar prize.

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