Biggest lottery jackpots in U.S. history
Powerball and Mega Millions began 2018 with a bang.
The two competing lottery games had jackpots worth a combined $1 billion — the first time both games ever offered prizes of more than $400 million each at the same time.
And they each had winning numbers drawn on consecutive days, which is also rare.
The two winning tickets were the eighth and eleventh largest jackpots ever awarded by the two games. Here’s where the list of the largest U.S. lottery prizes stands now.
1. $1.6 billion Powerball
January 13, 2016: The record-shattering jackpot was split three ways by Mae and Marvin Acosta from Chino Hills, California; John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee; and Maureen Smith, a 70-year-old from Melbourne Beach, Florida.
The Robinsons appeared on NBC’s “Today” show before cashing their ticket in. They opted to take their $528.8 million share of the prize in one lump-sum payment of $327.8 million. (Jackpot prize amounts are the annuity jackpots paid out over 30 payments, even though almost all winners chose to take a lesser lump sum of cash).
Smith told the Florida Lottery that she had played the lottery — and bought tickets with the same six numbers — for years before winning the jackpot.
The Acostas refused to speak to the media. They assembled a team of advisers and waited six months before claiming the prize.
2. $758.7 million Powerball
August 23, 2017: The winning ticket was sold in Chicopee, Massachusetts to Mavis Wanczyk, who won the largest jackpot with a single winner in American history. The 53-year old said she would retire early and that she immediately quit her job.
3. $656 million Mega Millions
March 30, 2012: This jackpot had three winners.
A retired couple from Illinois, Merle and Patricia Butler, received one of the slices of the top prize. “We are just everyday people who have worked hard all our life…We just happened to hit it big,” Merle said. Patricia added that they planned to use “part of the winnings to do some real good.”
Another winning ticket was divided among a group of friends in Maryland who dubbed themselves the “Three Amigos.”
The third winner is still unknown. That ticket was purchased in Kansas, which is one of the states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous.
4. $648 million Mega Millions
December 17, 2013: Two winners split this jackpot, including Ira Curry, a Georgia woman, who said she bet on a combination of family birthdays.
The other winner, Steve Tran, was working as a delivery driver when he bought a Mega Millions ticket in San Jose, California. Tran said he called his boss after he won to say, “I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever.”
5. $590.5 million Powerball
May 18, 2013: 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie of Florida had the one-and-only winning ticket, but it could’ve easily gone to someone else. “While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket,” Mackenzie said.
6. $587.5 million Powerball
November 28, 2012: Two winning tickets — Matthew Good of Arizona and Cindy and Mark Hill of Missouri.
7. $564 million Powerball
February 11, 2015: Three winners — Marie Holmes of North Carolina; Andrew Weber, who claimed it on behalf of a trust in Texas; and an anonymous player in Puerto Rico.
8. $559.7 million Powerball
Jan. 6, 2018: A single ticket was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack, NH. The winner was announced just one day after there was a winning ticket announced for a $450 million Mega Millions jackpot. The winning ticket holder has yet to come forward.
9. $536 million Mega Millions
July 8, 2016: A single winning ticket was sold in Indiana.
10. $487 million Powerball
July 30, 2016: The lone winning ticket was sold in New Hampshire.
11. $450 million Mega Millions
Jan. 5, 2018: The single winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Port Richey, Florida. It was the first jackpot winner after new rules were put in place in October that made it harder to win Mega Millions. The holder of the winning ticket has yet to come forward.
12. $448.4 million Powerball
August 7, 2013: Three winning tickets — a project engineer in Minnesota, a 70-year-old man in New Jersey, and a group of 16 victims of Superstorm Sandy.
13. $447.8 million Powerball
June 10, 2017: One winner — Jeff Lindsay of California, who bought his Powerball ticket with the funds from a winning scratch ticket.
14. $435 million Powerball
February 22, 2017: An anonymous ticket holder in Indiana was the sole winner of this massive jackpot.
15. $429.6 million Powerball
May 7, 2016: The one jackpot winner was drawn in New Jersey, held by the Smith family lottery pool.
16. $425.3 million Powerball
February 19, 2014: B. Raymond Buxton of California was the drawing’s sole winner.
17. $420.9 million Powerball
November 26, 2016: A group of 20 longtime co-workers in Tennessee bought the winning ticket in Lafayette, Tennessee.
18. $414 million Mega Millions
March 18, 2014: Two winning tickets — an anonymous player in Maryland and Floridians Raymond Moyer and Robyn Collier.
19. $399.4 million Powerball
September 18, 2013: An anonymous winner in Lexington, South Carolina.
20. $393 million Mega Millions
August 11, 2017: A single winning ticket was sold at Nick’s BBQ in Palos Heights, Illinois to Patricia Busking. The restaurant got $500,000 for selling the winning ticket.