Residents of the American town of Lonaconing (Maryland) with a population of about 1200 people learned that among them is the lucky one who hit the jackpot in the Powerball lottery.
The winner is owed $ 731 million, the largest win in state history and the fifth largest in the United States, according to The Washington Post.
According to the laws, the winner of the lottery in Maryland (as well as in several other states) has the right to anonymity. And, using this right, the lucky one is in no hurry to show himself to the world.
In this regard, life in the city has changed a lot – neighbors began to look closely at each other, and the slightest change in habits gives rise to suspicions of unexpected wealth.
Lonaconing is an unremarkable town: once coal was mined here, later glass was melted. But those days are long gone, factories have closed, and the city's poverty rate is 24%, double the state's, and there is a long queue for free food distributions.
However, now the residents of Lonaconing, which they affectionately call “Horses” themselves, have hope – they are sure that the winner will not be able to hide forever, and as soon as he appears, life in the city will change.
The most impatient citizens are already demanding that the lucky one donate a substantial sum to the city. And since no one knows the name of the winner yet, everyone with their requests and demands goes to Richard Ravenscroft, the owner of the store where the lottery ticket was sold. Travelers from distant places who have heard about the win also come to him. They ask for money to save a ruined farm, buy a dream home, pay for the trip they have dreamed of all their lives, and so on.
Lonaconing Mayor John Coburn said the city had already won because the win “put it on the map” and made it famous.
“We've heard from homeless shelters, refugee centers, people wanting to build a church. People asked me for a new car. I tried to be polite, but I had to say, “Please stop calling.” It really showed me a different side of people who are eligible for help, ”Coburn told The Washington Post.
The winner remains stubbornly silent for the time being, but people are sure that it is impossible to get millions and not start spending them. And they continue to follow each other.