If it were another kind of ballgame, people would suspect performance-enhancing drugs.
But in this case, the balls are lottery balls, and the games are Powerball and Mega Millions.
Wednesday night, with Powerball's annuity jackpot at a whopping $448.4 million, New Jersey had TWO of the three winners, which may be an unprecedented feat.
And that's only the whipped cream and chocolate sauce on a very rich sundae.
Just this year, New Jersey has now had SEVEN jackpot-winning tickets in a major multi-state lottery, three of them in Powerball, four in Mega Millions, scoring shares of annuity jackpots totalling more than $865 million.
A religious person might wonder if God is making amends for Superstorm Sandy.
The latest Jersey jackpot winners were sold at the Acme Market on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor, Atlantic County, and at the Super Stop n Shop on Summerfield Boulevard in South Brunswick, Middlesex County, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
They matched all the numbers drawn: 5, 25, 30, 58 and 59, with a Powerball of 32, and so did one sold in Minnesota.
Pennsylvania sold one of the 34 tickets that won $1 million for matching the first five numbers. The lucky slip was purchased at the Friendly Food Mart on Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem, Northampton County.
Four other tickets -- including two sold in Colorado, one each in Oklahoma and Texas -- won $2 million apiece for matching the first five while having the Power Play prize-boosting option.
A review of Powerball winners going back to 2003 finds no other case of a state winning twice in a single drawing. Hasn't happened either in Mega Millions, going back to 2002.
Hitting two consecutive jackpots isn't unprecedented. Pennsylvania did that several times, including twice in 2004, when fewer states belonged to Powerball. Indiana even hit three straight times in less than two weeks in 2003.
New York hit Mega Millions three straight times in 2009.
So states do have their lucky streaks.
Here's a rundown of New Jersey's jackpot wins in 2013, plus two more winners from last year.
July 26, $19 million, Mega Millions. Won by a single ticket sold by Dollar Subs at 646 Elm St. in Kearny, near Newark, in Hudson County. Winner lives in Kearny, but no name officially released yet, according to New Jersey Lottery.
May 31, $30 million, Mega Millions. Won by Darryl and Judith Smith of Mays Landing, Atlantic County, who opted for the cash: $22 million. He bought the winning ticket at the Vineland Truck Stop in Buena.
May 17, $99 million, Mega Millions. On May 23, Giuseppe “Joe” Garofalo claimed his half of the $198 annuity jackpot. He bought his ticket at Kwik Farms in Tinton Falls, Monmouth County. He went for the lump-sum payout, worth $73.3 million before taxes. The other winning ticket was sold in Farmville, Va.
March 23, $338.3 million, Powerball. New Jersey's biggest winner ever turned out to Pedro Quezada of Passaic, who collected the cash, $211 million. Less taxes, of course.
Jan. 25, $89 million, Mega Millions. Won by Angel Guallpa-Mayancela of Orange, Essex County, N.J.
Sept. 18, 2012, $7 million, Mega Millions. Christopher Manzi of Morganville, N.J., and a friend, Willie McPherson of New York, split a $14 million jackpot won by a ticket bought in Manhattan.
March 21, 2012, $70 million, Powerball. Coincidentally, another Joe from Tinton Falls won a major jackpot in March 2012, when Celeste and Joseph Tamburello won Powerball. They opted for the $43.5 million cash.
Pennsylvania has had three Powerball winners since the spring of 2012. Patricia Chandler of Upper Darby hit a $131.5 million jackpot with a ticket bought at Federal Beer in Philadelphia, and opted for the $77.4 million cash. Roger Custer of Bucks County collected $33 million cash won in a December drawing, and Philadelphia's SEPTA 48 shared an April 2012 jackpot worth $107.5 million cash.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or email@example.com.
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