Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots

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What would it really be like to take home the legendary Mega Millions jackpot? How would you feel and what would you do with your life-changing windfall?

The iconic US lottery offers a $20 million starting jackpot with no cap on how high it can climb, and has delivered some of the largest prizes ever won, turning regular folks into overnight multi-millionaires.

Check out the list below of the top 10 prizes won on this world-famous lottery that draws players from throughout the US as well as other countries to try their luck. Learn the lucky winners' stories and where they bought their tickets.

1. $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 amazing jackpot holds the world record for the highest lottery prize ever won by a single ticket. It's also the largest-ever Mega Millions jackpot (the overall biggest lottery prize is a $1.586 billion Powerball win by three tickets).

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."

2. $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."

3. $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.

4. $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.

5. $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.

6. $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.

7. $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.

8. $522 million - June 7, 2019

Laarni Bibal of San Diego took three months to claim her amazing half-billion jackpot, after storing the ticket in a secret hiding spot. She purchased the winning Quick Pick ticket in Sorrento. When claiming the prize she chose to the cash option, $340 million before taxes, and said her goals included paying off debt and purchasing a new home.

9. $516 million - May 21, 2021

The five winners of Pennsylvania's highest lottery prize decided to remain anonymous, claiming a lump sum of $348 million ($254,233,980 after taxes) via the Peace of Mind Trust. "This is life-changing generational money," their layers said in a statement. "The winners live in small communities in eastern Pennsylvania and desire to keep their lives as normal as possible. Maintaining anonymity is key to ensuring that normalcy. The winning ticket was a Quick Pick." The ticket was purchased in Levittown, Bucks County.

10. $451 million - January 5, 2018

Another Quick Pick winner rounds out the top 10 biggest jackpots. The ticket was purchased in Florida by Shane Missler, 20, of Port Richey. He initially won $5 on a scratch-off, and used the money to buy the winning Mega Millions ticket.

"I’m only 20, but I hope to use it to pursue a variety of passions, help my family and do some good for humanity," said Missler. A fan of an optimistic mindset, he revealed that he wasn't really surprised to have won because he just had "a feeling" that he might.

After checking his numbrs, Missler first called his brother, then told his dad over coffee the next morning. The lucky winner chose to receive the lump-sum payout of $281,874,999.00.

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