LOTTERY GAMBLER STRIKES GOLD, WINS US$1.58 BILLION

NEW YORK. – A single winning ticket was sold in Florida for one of the largest lottery prizes in U.S. history, a Mega Millions jackpot of US$1.58 billion, the company said early Wednesday.

The winning numbers in Tuesday’s drawing were 13, 19, 20, 32, 33, and the gold Mega Ball of 14. 

The company did not identify the owner of the winning ticket, which was sold at a Publix supermarket in Neptune Beach, Fla., in the Jacksonville area, according to the Florida Lottery.

It is the second time in less than a month that a ticket has won a lottery jackpot of more than US$1 billion. 

On July 19, a single winning ticket sold in California won a US$1.08 billion jackpot in the competing Powerball lottery.

Huge jackpots have become more common in the multistate Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries in recent years because of changes to the games and higher ticket prices. 

Between the two lotteries, eight jackpots in the United States have reached US$1 billion or more since 2016, including five in the past two years.

Here’s a look at some of the 10 biggest U.S. jackpots.

1. US$2.04 billion

The largest lottery jackpot to date, a Powerball drawing, was won on Nov. 7, 2022. The ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, Calif., just north of Pasadena.

On Feb. 14, California Lottery officials revealed the winner’s name, Edwin Castro, but did not release further information about him at his request.

2. US$1.586 billion

The second-biggest jackpot, also a Powerball, was split three ways. The winning numbers were drawn on Jan. 13, 2016, matching tickets bought in Chino Hills, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles; Munford, Tenn., north of Memphis; and Melbourne Beach, Fla., on the Atlantic Coast.

“I think we can all live on US$528 million, don’t you think?” Russ Lopez, a spokesman for the California Lottery, said at the time.

3. $1.580 billion

This was the Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs in Tuesday’s drawing. Taken as a single, after-tax cash payout, the prize would be US$783.3 million.

The winning ticket was one of more than seven million winning ones sold across all prize levels, including two tickets worth US$2 million each that were sold in Florida and North Carolina, the company said in a statement.

4. US$1.54 billion

A single ticket sold in Simpsonville, S.C., won a Mega Millions jackpot on Oct. 23, 2018. The prize was not claimed until March of the following year, when an anonymous winner came forward through a lawyer, opting for a one-time lump sum of US$877,784,124 instead of taking payments over 30 years.

5. US$1.35 billion 

A single ticket sold in Lebanon, Maine, won an estimated US$1.35 billion in the Mega Millions drawing on Jan. 13, 2023. A winner came forward a month later but chose to remain anonymous, officials said. The person collected the prize, through a limited liability company, as a single cash payment of US$723,564,144 before taxes. – New York Times

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