Single Winning $1.6B Mega Millions Ticket Sold In South Carolina, 2nd largest in US
South Carolina – Only one ticket matches all six numbers in the Mega Millions lottery draw in the United States for a jackpot worth a close to $1.6 billion, a lottery official said early on Wednesday.
Mega Millions officials said a ticket purchased in South Carolina matches all six numbers in Tuesday night’s drawing. The winning lottery ticket is just shy of the all-time world record.
And it’s possible that the world will never know the winner.
Lottery officials say the final numbers are in and the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket is just shy of the all-time world record.
The earlier estimate of $1.6 billion would have been a world record for lotteries, but actual sales came in just short of the estimate for a total of $1.537 billion, if paid out over 30 years. That’s worth about $877.8 million in a lump-sum cash payment.
Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carol Gentry explained the difference in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
She says estimated payouts are based on historical patterns, and ‘there are few precedents for a jackpot of this size.” She says typically about 70 percent of sales occur on the day of the drawing, “so forecasting precise numbers in advance can be difficult” and that’s why they always use the term “estimate.”
The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5. No details on where the winning ticket was sold were immediately available. But the lucky player overcame miserable odds: The chance of matching all six numbers and winning the top prize is 1 in 302.5 million.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It will likely be days or even weeks before a winner steps forward to claim the prize.
Lottery officials and financial managers encourage people to take time to map out a strategy for investing their hundreds of millions of dollars, and winners must deal with security concerns befitting someone who suddenly is immensely wealthy. Depending on the state, winners have from 180 days to a year to claim their prize.
The Mega Millions jackpot grew so large because it had been nearly three months since a player had matched all six numbers and won the top prize. The last time that happened was July 24, when 11 co-workers from California won a $543 million prize.
Although Tuesday’s jackpot was extraordinarily large, it’s no fluke. It reflects a trend toward ever-growing lottery prizes due to changes in the game that worsened the odds with hopes that bigger jackpots would result in better sales.
Officials with the Powerball game were the first to make that move in October 2015 when changing the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292.2 million. Mega Millions followed suit in October 2017, resulting in the odds worsening from 1 in 259 million to 1 in 302.5 million.
While most attention has been on the Mega Millions game, Powerball also has been soaring. The estimated prize for Powerball’s annuity option in Wednesday night’s drawing is $620 million, with a cash prize of $354.3 million.
Tuesday night’s $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot won by a ticket sold in South Carolina was the second largest in U.S. history.
Lottery players have a shot at another top 10 jackpot as Wednesday night’s Powerball is estimated to be for $620 million.
A look at the 10 largest U.S. jackpots that have been won and the states where the winning tickets were sold:
1. $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)
2. $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2019 (one ticket, South Carolina)
3. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)
4. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
5. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (two tickets, from California and Georgia)
6. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one ticket, from Florida)
7. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (two tickets, from Arizona and Missouri)
8. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb. 11, 2015 (three tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)
9. $559.7 million, Powerball, Jan. 6, 2018 (one ticket, New Hampshire)
10. $543 million, Mega Millions, July 24, 2018 (one ticket, California)