By Aman Ali
MELVILLE, New York (Reuters) - The 20 Costco employees who won the $201.9 million Powerball jackpot this month were all smiles on Thursday as the state lottery awarded them their winning checks.
The co-workers only began playing the lottery together in May, chipping in $5 each per week for tickets that Costco services employee Anthony Manzolillo would buy, said Kim Karkota, merchandise manager at the Melville, New York store.
This time, Manzolillo said, he almost did not buy the winning ticket, after arriving empty-handed at a local store to make his purchase on May 31.
"I forgot the group's money!" he said on Thursday. "I had to go all the way home and back to the store so I could buy our numbers."
Ranging in age from 24 to 73, the employees won the June 1 Powerball drawing.
State lottery workers gave them their prize, which they opted to take in a lump sum of about $106 million, outside the Long Island store where they work.
After taxes, each employee will get an equal share of around $3.5 million apiece.
Karkota said she and her winning co-workers have not yet decided if they will quit working at the store.
"Nobody knows what they're doing at this time," she said. "We're all dedicated to making our money last, breathing easy and have a happy life."
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)