The 10 Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots
Since the Mega Millions lottery began, it has been creating some of the biggest jackpots the world has ever seen. The current record stands at $1.602 billion, an amount just short of the record Powerball jackpot.
While Mega Millions hasn't quite claimed the record U.S. lottery jackpot to be offered, it has paid out billions in prizes over the years. As the game itself has no limit to how high the jackpot can climb, there is potential for it to climb to $2 billion and above, if enough consecutive draws pass without a Grand Prize winner.
Check out the list below of the top 10 prizes won in the Mega Millions lottery, the game that draws players from throughout the US as well as other countries to try their luck. Read the lucky winners stories and find out where they bought their tickets.
1. $1.602 billion - August 8, 2023
Following a jackpot run lasting almost four months, the grand prize stood at a record amount for this draw. One lucky ticket holder matched all the numbers, bringing an end to a sequence of 31 consecutive drawings without a winner.
It was the fifth time in the game’s history that the jackpot had topped $1 billion, and the biggest of the lot. The winner claimed the prize more than one month after the draw and took the cash option of $783.3 million. Their name will be released by the Florida Lottery on December 25, 2023.
2. $1.537 billion - October 23, 2018
This incredible prize, dubbed "Mega Billions", was won by a single Quick Pick ticket in the small town of Simpsonville, South Carolina; the winner chose to remain anonymous. SC is one of a few states where a lottery winner is allowed to keep their identity private.
The jackpot did hold the record for the largest lottery prize ever won by a single ticket, until a Californian Powerball player won $2.04 billion in 2022.
It took the winner five months to claim and they chose the cash option, a single payout of $877,784,124.
The state of South Carolina also got a big payday, receiving $61,000,000 in income tax from the winning ticket.
The South Carolina Education Lottery Commission said that the winner "marvels at how every decision made that day brought the winner to the store, at that very moment, to make the Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase." The winner allowed someone else in line to purchase their ticket first, and "a simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome."
3. $1.35 billion - January 13, 2023
Friday the 13th proved to be the luckiest date on the calendar for one Maine player in January 2023, as their full set of Mega Millions numbers appeared in the draw.
The jackpot had just gone past $1 billion yet again following a three-month run since the previous win, and it could have toppled the existing record had it not been for the Maine ticket holder’s good fortune.
Remarkably, it was the first time that anyone from Maine had won the jackpot in either of the big multi-state games. The winning entry was sold at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon. The $1.35 billion jackpot equated to a cash sum of $724.6 million.
The winner, claiming through the LaKoma Island Investments LLC, opted to take the lump sum. They said they were ‘thoughtfully considering the best uses of the life-changing prize’.
4. $1.337 billion - July 29, 2022
The Mega Millions jackpot soared beyond the $1 billion mark for the third time in its history in the summer of 2022, eventually reaching $1,337,000,000 for this draw on July 29.
Millions of extra tickets had been sold across the U.S. over the previous three days, taking the grand prize up from $830 million in the previous drawing, and one lucky player in Illinois was rewarded with a payout beyond their wildest dreams when they matched all the numbers.
The winner had purchased their ticket in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, at Speedway #4250, located at 885 E. Touhy Ave. It was the biggest win ever seen in Illinois, with the jackpot worth $780.5 million in cash.
The winner had to come forward within 60 days of the draw if they wanted to take the cash option, otherwise it would default to the annuity payments. The jackpot was claimed with just a few days to spare, going to a pair of players who stayed anonymous.
5. $1.05 billion - January 22, 2021
This outstanding prize was won by a single ticket in Michigan. Four members of the Wolverine FLL Club lottery club in Oakland County in suburban Detroit wasted no time in claiming the win only weeks after the drawing. They chose the cash lump sum payment of $776 million before taxes; $557 million after taxes.
"This kind of money will impact the families of our club members for generations to come,” said the club in a statement. "We plan to stay humble and pay it forward through charitable giving in southeast Michigan."
The jackpot was the largest amount ever won in Michigan Lottery history and the third-largest in the nation.
The lucky ticket was purchased on the spur of the moment at a Kroger grocery store in Novi, near Detroit. "A club member saw a sign that the jackpot was up to $1 billion and remembered that they hadn't bought their tickets yet so they pulled into the Kroger," the group's attorney, Kurt Panouses, said. "When you play, of course, you dream of winning, but the reality of it has been incredible."
6. $656 million - March 30, 2012
Three winning tickets were purchased in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland; two of the tickets were Quick Picks. "Each of the winners gets $105.1 million in cash after taxes roughly, but who cares about pennies at this point?" said a Maryland Lottery spokesperson.
The winners sharing the jackpot were Red Bud, IL couple Merle and Patricia Butler; an anonymous winner in Kansas; and The Three Amigos, three MD education workers who chose to stay anonymous.
The Illinois and Maryland ticket-holders opted for annuity payments totalling $218.6 million each, while the Kansas winner chose the $157 million cash option.
7. $648 million - December 17, 2013
Two winning tickets split this awesome prize - California delivery driver Steve Tran and Georgia grandmother Ira Curry both took the lump sum payout and received $173.8 million each before taxes.
While Curry came forward the day after the draw, Tran spent almost two weeks totally unaware of his life-changing win, before suddenly recalling buying the ticket on a delivery run. "I woke up in the middle of the night. I remembered, 'I think I went to San Jose,'" he told the California Lottery.
8. $543 million - July 24, 2018
11 California coworkers in San Jose shared this half-billion dollar payday, all thanks to their office pool. Fortunately, all the winners worked at Wells Fargo, giving them expertise in managing their life-changing wealth!
The winners said they decided "on the spur of the moment" to purchase the tickets, and had no plans to retire anytime soon. It was not publicized whether the winners took the annuity or cash option.
9. $536 million - July 8, 2016
An Indiana couple claimed this incredible prize after purchasing five Quick Pick tickets on a family road trip. The winners chose to remain anonymous by claiming via a corporation, Warren D LLC; they opted for the lump sum of $378.3 million.
10. $533 million - March 30, 2018
Richard Wahl, of Vernon, New Jersey, scored the biggest lottery prize in the state's history and decided to take the lump sum cash option of $324.6 million - about $175 million after taxes. Wahl said he was part of a "humble family" and would use his overnight windfall to rebuild a 1964 Corvette and donate a significant amount to charity.