PASCO -- Although whoever won Tuesday's $9.6 million Washington Lotto jackpot has yet to come forward, a Pasco Chevron station that sold the winning ticket is $96,000 richer.
Washington Lottery officials presented a ceremonial check for that amount to the five employees at the Chevron at 3720 W. Court St. on Wednesday morning.
The check represents a bonus equivalent to 1 percent of the jackpot that goes to the retailer who sells a winning ticket, said Bill Raber, the lottery's regional manager.
"We're excited, very excited," said store manager Kimberlie Wiltse.
Until now, she said, she always thought lottery winners were from Seattle. "The east side never wins anything," she said.
Wiltse said she was surprised when local lottery representative Tom Cram told her and other store employees on Tuesday morning that they had sold the winning ticket.
"Get out of here! You're lying, April Fool's Day was a couple days ago," Wiltse said she told him.
Because there's another Chevron on Court Street, she also asked Cram to call lottery officials to verify her store sold the winning ticket.
The $9.6 million prize is the third-largest prize in Washington Lottery history, he said. The largest prize of $11 million was awarded in 2006, and the second-largest prize of $9.7 million was awarded in 2008.
As of Wednesday morning, the holder of the winning ticket still was unknown. "Sometimes they come forward really quickly and sometimes they delay a little bit," Raber said.
Because winners have to decide whether they want to take their winnings in a lump sum or annuity payments, they sometimes wait to seek financial advice before coming forward, Raber said.
Annuity payments are paid out annually over 20 years.
It turns out the state's east side, and Tri-City Chevron stations, were doubly lucky Tuesday.
The Chevron at 2610 W. Kennewick Ave. in Kennewick also sold a ticket to someone who won a $600,000 jackpot in the lottery's Hit Five game.
That store will be receiving a check for $6,000, equivalent to 1 percent of that jackpot, Raber said.
Raber said others besides the winners and stores benefit from the jackpots.
Of the $490 million sold in lottery tickets this fiscal year, 21 percent, or $102 million, will go to the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account that provides college scholarships and supports early childhood education learning.
Also, the owner of the Pasco Chevron, Wondrack Distributing of Kennewick, told Raber he will be investing the $96,000 back into his business.
"That will then add value to the community," Raber said.
* Kathy Korengel: 509-582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org