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    Marvin and Mae Acosta are proof positive that some good things are worth the wait. Last Friday, they came forward to claim their Powerball winnings of 8.8 million more than six months after the drawing.

    The hefty windfall is part of the Jan. 13 Powerball jackpot of .6 billion, the biggest purse in U.S. lottery history.

    The Acostas bought their winning ticket at a 7-Eleven store, located in Chino Hills in Southern California's San Bernardino County. Two other winning tickets were sold in Tennessee and Florida.

    The couple has chosen to take the cash option, which amounts to 7.8 million before taxes. They are among 98 new millionaires for fiscal year 2015 – 2016 from the California Lottery.

    Residents celebrated at the 7-Eleven store in Chino Hills, California, where the Acostas bought their winning Powerball ticket.EUGENE GARCIA / EPA

    Not surprisingly, the couple is carefully eschewing the limelight, a move recommended by many financial experts . Their prepared statement issued in a lottery news release said: “We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care. We have engaged a team of advisers to educate and guide us through this process so that we can be good stewards of these new resources. While many decisions are still to be made, we have committed nearly all of this new resource to a Trust and to charities that are important to us. While we are very grateful for the wonderful wishes and encouragement we’ve received, it is not our intention to become public figures, and we ask for and appreciate privacy going forward. Thank you.”

    RELATED: How to stay anonymous if you win the lottery

    California Lottery headquarters spokesperson Alex Traverso told TODAY that before the ticket was claimed, his office received calls from attorneys claiming to represent the winner. “They asked some of the usual questions, such as, ‘Can they remain anonymous?’ and ‘What information needs to be disclosed?’” said Traverso.

    “The winners were smart and assembled a team with not only attorneys, but financial advisers, security people, and created a comprehensive plan," he said. "They had it all together when they came in Friday to get the claim process started.”

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    Gameplay[ edit ]

    United States format[ edit ]

    Rules[ edit ]

    The contestant is presented with the blueprint for the first game (level) and must successfully complete the game within 60 seconds to win the first level (was ,000 in all versions) and advance to the next level. After successfully completing the first, fifth, seventh, eighth, and recently ninth level games, the contestant is guaranteed to leave with no less than the cash award for those levels. If the contestant can complete the final game, the contestant will earn ,000,000 (0,000 in the Spanish version and 0,000 in the GSN version).

    The contestant is given three "lives" at the beginning of the game. The difficulty of the games progressively increase throughout the show. If time expires or the conditions of the game cannot be fulfilled (such as by the contestant exhausting any allotted attempts or committing a foul), the contestant loses a "life". If the contestant loses all three of their "lives", the game ends and the contestant's winnings drop to the previous milestone they passed.

    After successfully completing a game, the contestant can leave with the amount of money already won before seeing the blueprint for the next game. However, once the contestant elects for the game, the contestant cannot leave the show until that game is complete or they have exhausted all three of their "lives".

    In the first part of season one in the English version, ,000 was the only milestone; players who were eliminated from the game before completing the level five game left with nothing. The milestones at ,000 and 0,000 were added in the second part of that season. Then, partway through season two, a milestone at 0,000 was added. For the MundoFox version, ,000, ,000, ,000 and ,000 are the milestones. In the GSN edition, the milestones are ,000, ,000 and ,000.

    In episodes featuring celebrity contestants competing for charities, all levels are milestones, so they get all the money up to their last successful level. [3]

    In episodes featuring teams of two contestants, some games are played by both players, while others are played solo. A player can only make three consecutive attempts at solo games (including re-attempts following losing a life; an intervening team game does not reset this count). After a player makes three attempts, the other player is forced to attempt the next solo game.

    In Christmas episodes, two extra games were added for "the 12 games of Minute to Win It": the 11th game is worth ,000,000 and the 12th is worth ,000,000. In the Spanish version, the 11th game would be worth 0,000 and the 12th would be worth 0,000. Both are milestones.

    Also in Christmas episodes, some games contain a "Holiday Bonus," in which a contestant wins a gift if the level is passed. A visual representation of the gift is placed inside of a box, which is opened if and when the level is completed. The gifts include:

    Some season two episodes feature similar bonuses known as a "Blueprint Bonus." However, the bonus is shown on a large monitor, and it is shown before the blueprint and the game is played. So far, the only bonuses won by contestants have been the extra life and extra ten seconds. When a contestant decides to use the extra ten seconds, a special 70 second clock is used, or if the contestant is playing a survival game (like Keep it Up, Defying Gravity, High as a Kite, Uphill Battle, etc.) the clock is reduced to 50 seconds. In addition, the outer floor lights of the 60-second circle do not turn red for the first ten seconds. For the survival games, the first ten lights are already red.

    Variations[ edit ]

    Head to head : Two teams of two players compete against each other in a best-of-seven match. Winning a challenge wins a point and the first team to four points wins ,000 (milestone) and a chance to play for the million starting from Level 6 with three lives remaining.

    Last Man Standing : 10 players play against each other and the one with the worst result at the end of the challenge is eliminated. This continues until there is one player left. The winner wins 0,000 and plays Supercoin for a chance to win the million.

    Summer Million-Dollar Mission (six episodes): One player from the audience is selected to play the million-dollar game Supercoin .

    The first top prize was reached in Denmark. Only one contestant won 0,000 on the Australian Version; Grant Nelson walked away with 0,000 on 3 August 2010. Two teams won 0,000 on the U.S version; Kimberly Fox and Aaron Hendrick walked away with 0,000 on July 21, 2010. This was prior to the change in rule that allowed contestants to bank on levels 8 and 9, allowing them to play subsequent levels at no risk. After this rule was established, the Bishop family completed their level 9 challenge to bank 0,000 on February 2, 2011. The Bishops then went on to fail the Supercoin challenge. Their winnings are the biggest prizes in Minute to Win It franchise worldwide.

    Prizes[ edit ]

    Successfully completing a stunt is worth a specific cash prize at each level. Contestants who successfully complete stunts on levels with bolded amounts in the table below are guaranteed to leave with no less than the cash award at that level should they fail any later stunts.

    Levels 11 and 12 were only played during Christmas episodes of the NBC and MundoFox version.

    Level Value (NBC) Value (MundoFox) Value (GSN)
    ,000
    ,000
    ,000
    4 ,000 ,000 ,000
    5 ,000 ,000 ,000
    6 ,000 ,000 ,000
    7 5,000 ,000 ,000
    8 0,000 ,000 ,000
    9 0,000 ,000 0,000
    10 ,000,000 0,000 0,000
    12 ,000,000 0,000

    United Kingdom format[ edit ]

    The UK version of the series used a different format from the United States primetime version. Each team (consisting of a captain (either Joe Swash or Caroline Flack ) and five contestants of the captain's gender) competed in six games – either head-to-head or solo-play against the clock – to win points. The highest-scoring team after 6 games goes through to two games which make up the cash prize round. The first of these games built up the prize fund for every point scored, and the second determined whether or not they won the money. The maximum winnings a team could earn was £30,000. The main reason for this different format was that the show's sponsor was Cadbury , and their famous Spots v. Stripes campaign was happening around the time of the premiere, which had the slogan: "Let's play our way to London 2012."

    Host Darren McMullen emphasized that each player could only play once in the first six games except for the team captains, who appeared twice; once for a solo game and once for a two-player game. Although not said on camera, Swash's team were the Spots, and Flack's team were the Stripes.

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    All she has to do to collect a 0 million lotto jackpot is make her name public. She refuses.

    by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. February 13 Email the author

    The winning numbers triple-checked and the lottery ticket signed, the New Hampshire woman knew her life was about to change in a positive way — except for one petrifying thing.

    As the winner of last month’s 0 million Powerball lottery, she would soon be the world’s newest owner of a nine-digit bank account.

    But because of lottery rules, everyone in the world would know about it — neighbors, old high school friends, con artists, criminals.

    Now the woman is asking a judge to let her keep the cash — and remain anonymous.

    In court on Tuesday, the woman’s attorney asked a judge to essentially grant a do-over, according to the New Hampshire Union-Leader . The woman wants to sign the back of the ticket with the name of an anonymous trust, keeping her identity a secret.

    The winner is not trying to amend the laws of New Hampshire or the rules of the lottery, her attorney said. She was seeking a narrow ruling from the judge to guarantee her privacy rights.

    Every day the case remains unresolved, the lottery winner loses about ,000 in interest. The total amount lost since the winning numbers were picked on Jan. 6 is quickly approaching the half-million-dollar mark.

    “We come to the court today in a Catch-22 … Not surprisingly, Ms. Doe would like to cash her ticket,” attorney Steven Gordon, who represents the winner, told the judge. “The ticket and the prize sits in limbo.”

    It is unclear when Judge Charles Temple will rule on the case.

    On one side of the case are lottery officials who say the integrity of the games depends on the public identification of winners as a protection against fraud and malfeasance. A local woman holding up a giant check while cameras flash and reporters scrawl also happens to be a powerful marketing tool.

    On the other side is a woman suddenly faced with a life-changing stroke of luck who, court documents say, wishes to live “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners.”

    [ A hospital worker won the Powerball. Her prize: 8.7 million — and police outside her house. ]

    The law doesn’t appear to be on her side.

    As attorneys for the state and the lottery commission argued in court on Tuesday, New Hampshire lottery rules require the winner’s name, town and amount won be available for public information, in accordance with open-records laws .

    “Petitioner’s understandable yearning for normalcy after entering a lottery to win hundreds of millions of dollars is not a sufficient basis to shut the public out of the business of government,” Assistant Attorney General John Conforti wrote in court documents.

    The state allows people to form an anonymous trust, NewHampshire.com reported, but it’s a moot point for the woman — she signed her name on the back of the ticket shortly after winning, and altering the signature would nullify the ticket.

    In a statement, New Hampshire lottery executive director Charlie McIntyre said that the commission consulted with the state’s attorney general’s office and that the Powerball winner must abide by the disclosure laws “like any other.”

    “The New Hampshire Lottery understands that winning a 0 million Powerball jackpot is a life-changing occurrence,” the statement said. “Having awarded numerous Powerball jackpots over the years, we also understand that the procedures in place for prize claimants are critically important for the security and integrity of the lottery, our players and our games. While we respect this player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.”

    In court documents, the lottery winner asked a judge to allow the lottery winnings to be paid to a designated trust that keeps her anonymous. But lottery officials have argued that even if the cash goes into a trust, the ticket will have to be submitted in its original form — complete with the ticket buyer’s name and home town.

    Other lottery winners have realized that every ticket buyer’s fantasy can quickly morph into a nightmare. There are myriad self-inflicted problems that can befall a person who suddenly comes into great wealth. One bought a water park , for example. Several others have gambled their winnings away, including a two-time lottery winner  who ended up living in a trailer .

    Billie Bob Harrell Jr., who won million in 1997, told his financial adviser shortly before his suicide that “winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

    And there are numerous examples of people who’ve tried to swindle lottery winners out of their newly acquired cash — or take the money by force.

    In November 2015, Craigory Burch Jr. matched all five numbers in the Georgia Fantasy 5 drawing and won a 4,272 jackpot,  The Washington Post’s Lindsey Bever reported .

    Two months later, police said, Burch was killed in his home by seven masked men who kicked in his front door. His family members said the public announcement of the lottery winnings had made him a target.

    “When they came in, he said: ‘Don’t do it, bro. Don’t do it in front of my kids. Please don’t do it in front of my kids and old lady,’ ” his girlfriend, Jasmine Hendricks,  told WALB-TV at the time . “He said, ‘I’ll give you my bank card.’ ”

    Abraham Shakespeare won a million lottery prize in 2006. Two years later, he was approached by Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, who said she was writing a book about how people were taking advantage of him. She soon became his financial adviser and slowly siphoned away his money,  according to Fox News .

    “She got every bit of his money,” Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said in closing arguments. “He found out about it and threatened to kill her. She killed him first.”

    Remaining anonymous can alleviate some of those problems, according to Shaheen & Gordon, the law firm that is representing the New Hampshire Powerball winner. It offered advice in a blog post shortly after the winning ticket was announced — and before the winner was its client.

    “Once you are outed, it can be overwhelming,” lawyer William Shaheen said in the post. “If you like your life and you like your friends, choose anonymity. If you don’t, things will change. People will look at you differently and treat you differently.”

    The winner’s legal team expounded on that thought — in dire terms — in an analysis from an accountant.

    “In my experience, the publication of these individuals’ identities often leads to disastrous outcomes, including theft, ransom and harassment,” wrote David Desmarais, a certified public accountant, in court documents obtained by the Union Leader newspaper.

    “Many clients are forced to hire professional security teams to accompany their children on trips out of the country,” he added. “The dangers of having their identities publicized can force these high-wealth individuals to leave their communities permanently, change their identities, go into hiding and maintain around the clock security.”

    Cashiers Kathy Robinson, left, and Ethel Kroska, right, both of Merrimack, N.H., sell a lottery ticket at Reeds Ferry Market convenience store in Merrimack. (Steven Senne/AP)

    Read more: 

    A child was taken to a voodoo practitioner for discipline. Police say she will be permanently disfigured.

    Teen camper wakes up to ‘crunching noise’ — and discovers his head is inside bear’s mouth

    ‘Little legs are dangling out the bag’: Mom charged after her baby was rescued from the trash

    Comments Cleve R. Wootson Jr. Cleve Wootson is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. He was previously a reporter for the Charlotte Observer. Follow The story must be told. Your subscription supports journalism that matters. Try 1 month for

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