The seven lucky people who chipped in last week to buy a winning $319 million lottery ticket are New York State IT workers. At least for a little while longer. (Also see: Privacy groups cheer FTC's action over Google Buzz) The four men and three women work in IT for the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal in Schenectady and range in age from 29 to 63. They purchased the winning ticket for last Friday's Mega Millions jackpot drawing from a newsstand in downtown Albany. Each will get a check for $19.1 million. That's after taxes, folks. The guy who runs the newsstand where the winning was sold said many state workers pool their money to buy tickets in bulk to increase their odds. In a classic bit of understatement, he tells the Schenectady Daily Gazette, "It seems to have worked this time." Seems to have worked? As for whether the seven lucky lottery winners will continue in their state IT jobs, here's what the Gazette reports: A spokesperson for the state Office of Homes and Community Renewal who wished not to be identified said the office has yet to hear if the workers officially had quit their jobs. The person said it was probably assumed they had quit because of how much money they had won. As much as I'm sure all seven IT workers love removing malware from ancient state computers and taking abuse from ungrateful, techno-illiterate bureaucrats, that's probably a safe assumption. Congratulations, IT workers. Don't spend it all on private shares of Facebook. Update: The Associated Press has a story about the winners, including their identities. One of them discusses how he found out the group had hit the jackpot: When Leon Peck, 62, of Johnstown got the call Saturday morning, he assumed there must have been a problem at work. "We're IT people. We get calls all the time about malfunctioning servers so I figured that was why my phone was ringing so early in the morning," he said. AP says the seven winners still "haven't decided" if they'll stay in their IT jobs. Tough call!
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.