Seven days have gone by and the largest single-ticket winner in New York in the history of the Mega Millions game has yet to come forward, lottery officials said Monday.
"It's not uncommon for big winners to take some time," spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said. "It makes sense; $162 million is a life-changing figure."
Givner said many big winners - including a $133-million Mega winner from July - seek financial and legal advice before submitting their ticket for validation. The winner has a year from the date of the drawing to come forward, she said.
The winner of the $162-million prize for the Dec. 22 drawing bought the ticket at Cards and Things in Rocky Point, lottery officials said last week. The winner - or group of winners - holds the largest winning ticket sold on Long Island in the history of the New York Lottery.
The Rocky Point store, which gets $10,000 for selling the winning ticket, has become the meeting place for locals to gossip about who the winner could be, said employee Joyce Hegedus.
"I've heard so many stories; I can tell you 20 stories," she said. "I can write a book."
Workers and customers also speculate about how the winner will spend the money and who sold the ticket, Hegedus said. Customer Angela Firoz of Ridge said she believes the winner is "nobody famous, just a hardworking man."
The winner matched all six numbers - 3, 33, 35, 39, 45 - and the Megaball, 13. The winner played a Quick Pick and chose a lump sum, expected to be more than $100 million before taxes.
On July 7, Aubrey Boyce, 49, an MTA worker from Queens, purchased the winning ticket in a $133-million Mega drawing; he did not come forward until July 22. He took time to set up an asset management trust fund to handle his winnings, according to news reports.
The lottery does not calculate the average time it takes winners to come forward, Givner said.
"We're not in a rush for that individual," she said, adding that three New York Mega Millions winners have not come forward since 2002. "We want them to do whatever they have to do first."