Venu Gopal, pictured at work on Jan. 29, 2024, sold the $1M winning ticket on Jan. 26.
Photo Emily Swanson
Someone who bought a Mega Millions ticket at a South Bronx gas station is $1 million richer today — and might not even know it yet.
The winning ticket was sold at the Shell station owned by Mukti Petroleum at 119 Bruckner Blvd. According to Brad Maione at the New York State Gaming Commission, the winner has not come forward yet but has one year to claim the prize.
Friday’s Mega Millions winner was sold on Jan. 26 by Venu Gopal, who told the Bronx Times on Monday that he has worked at the store for about eight months and likely handed over the winning ticket.
He said he sells a lot of tickets and he’s pleased to have played a role in the big prize.
“I’m so happy because the winning ticket was sold at my hands,” he said.
Channi Singh, the store’s owner, told the Bronx Times that the $1 million prize was by far the largest of any winner at his 25 locations throughout Queens and the Bronx. According to Singh, his stores have seen several $20,000 and $50,000 winners — but this was the first million-dollar winner.
Singh said that a big prize is great for business.
“We are lucky to have the winner in this state and the city,” he said.
Another $1 million ticket was sold in Verbank in Dutchess County. Both tickets were only second place winners, with the estimated jackpot for Friday’s drawing at $285M, according to the Mega Millions website.
Prizes range from $2 for tickets matching only the Mega Ball number (which is drawn last), all the way up to the jackpot for matching all five numbers plus the Mega Ball.
Although New York stores sold second place winners, no one won Friday’s jackpot — which now increases to an estimated $311M.
The odds of winning that big — or even second place — are slim. According to Maoine, second place odds are one in 12,607,306 — but the overall chances of winning something, according to the site, are one in 24. The two second-place winners matched all five numbers excluding the Mega Millions number.
Although it is not yet clear who bought Friday’s ticket, some Bronxites have recently struck it big with other unlikely winnings. Justo Hilerio of the Bronx won a $1M Powerball prize after purchasing the winning ticket in July at a Fairfield Food location at 2525 3rd Ave.
Singh said he hopes the winner comes forward soon so he can thank them.
“We are happy for the customer, the store and the neighborhood,” he said.
Gopal said that if he met the winner, “I’d congratulate him with my heart.”
Reach Emily Swanson at [email protected] or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes