The lucky New York-based balikbayan lotto winner could have missed the mind-boggling P740-million grand jackpot had he not let another bettor cut in line at a lotto outlet in Royal Subic Mall (photo above) in Subic Bay, Zambales.

A Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) official said the winner, whose identity will remain anonymous for security reasons, “generously” let another person place her bet first and waited for his turn before he could place his winning combination for the lottery prize,

The PCSO earlier said the grand winner used the “Lucky Pick” method, which generates randomly selected numbers, to come up with the winning combination.

May sumingit na babae bago siya tumaya pero hindi siya nagalit at pinabayaan niya. Mukhang mabait talaga siyang tao” (A woman cut in line before he could place his bet, but he kept his cool and allowed her to place her bet first),” PCSO chair Margie Juico told reporters.

“He just stepped back and let her go ahead. And then he said ‘you know when I won, I thought of her and I thought that maybe if she had been patient enough to wait, then she could probably have won this prize instead of me.’”

The woman also used the “Lucky Pick” method, which meant that if she hadn’t cut in line, she would have received the winning combination.

“Imagine, kung hindi sumingityung babae at hinintay, siya dapat ang nanalo,” Juico added.

Juico said the grand winner, a 60-year-old married man with three children, was a building estimator in New York, who returned to the Philippines for a “sentimental journey” in his home country.

He bought the ticket while his wife and three kids went out shopping.

“He has been staying in the U.S. for a long time. He went back to the Philippines to visit places. Nagkatuwaan lang silang magkakapatid na tumaya sa Subic at doon siya sinwerte (He and his siblings agreed to place a bet at Subic, just for fun, and he got lucky),” she said.

The PCSO chairperson, who personally handed the prize to the winner on Thursday afternoon (Dec. 9), described the balikbayan as a “kind-looking” man.

The winner presented the winning ticket, a driver’s license and a California ID.

Nakakatuwa kasi simple lang talaga siya at mukhang mabait. Sinabi niya sa akin na madasalin din siya. Dininig ang panalangin niya,” (It’s so heartwarming, because he’s really just an ordinary guy, and kind-looking. He told me that he prayed often. His prayers were answered), Juico said.

It took about 10 days before the winner claimed the prize because he was busy with family reunions, almost forgetting about the ticket.

He bought five tickets all lying on top of a cabinet.

Living for 20 years in the U.S., the winner reportedly said he will bring with him half of the prize to the U.S. and deposit the rest in a bank in the Philippines.

A report said he plans to retire in the Philippines after a year.

While winning the lottery is tax-free in the Philippines, he will have to pay taxes when in the U.S., according to the PCSO.

The tax law in New York states that proceeds from lotto draws are treated as if they were wages paid by an employer to an employee.

The rates are 7.875 percent for New York State, 3.4 percent for New York City, and 1.181 percent for Yonkers, a city in New York.

The jackpot was the biggest lottery cash prize in the Philippines’ history.

No one has won the jackpot prize since May.

A total of P4.1 billion (about $94 million) was generated in the 86 draws of the grand lotto jackpot.

According to the PCSO, 30 percent of the revenues was used for medical and health services of poor patients in the country, including hospitalization assistance, medical/dental missions and ambulance donations, and other charities.

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