First, I woud like to apologize if I'm asking in the wrong place, and this may sound like a dumb question... but like an hour after the announcement of the winning numbers, medias of California tweeted that there was no winners at CA. How do they know that??? I mean there could be a person or two that bought the ticket but may be in some kinda situation where they can't check so they could perhaps announce their winnings tomorrow or the day after... right?
There is a delay between the drawing and announcing if there was a winner.
- First the computer determines if there was a winner.
- Then it tells them the state where the ticket was sold.
- Eventually they know the store and the date/time it was sold.
With more than 100 million tickets sold it takes time.
As the more detailed info is released the local media in that area become more frenzied to report on the story. They try and determine who could it be. Some will even analyze store security camera footage to try to identify the winner.
Shortly after the numbers are drawn the lottery terminals get the updated numbers. People can scan their tickets to see if they won the big prize or any of the smaller prizes. This delay is probably in the order of minutes,
Of course knowing the store doesn't tell you where they live. They might have bought it near work, or near home, or out of state becasue their state doesn't participate. Sometime the purchaser is a group of coworkers, so the owners of a single ticket could come from multiple states.
With a prize this large it is advisable to wait before claiming, so that they can prepare for the immediate financial decisions that must be made. So it could be days or weeks before it is claimed.
All combinations sold are recorded electronically through the machines that print the tickets. If a winning ticket were sold, the lottery organizers would know this, and at what store it was purchased. The winner coming forward is independent, and could take days or weeks.