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Top 20 American Lottery Winnings of All Time

They say you can’t buy happiness but it is not often that you can buy a dream for a dollar! When you buy lottery tickets online or offline, that is exactly what you look for – hope, fun and the potential to win riches beyond your wildest dreams, all for a couple of bucks. theLotter maintains a list of the top 20 lottery jackpots ever won; a list that Mega Millions, its predecessor The Big Game and US lottery powerhouse Powerball dominate entirely.

20. The Lucky Seven, November 2005, Mega Millions, $315M


The lives of 7 California Kaiser Permanente hospital workers changed in a blink of an eye in November 2005. The lucky group shared the winning lottery ticket that got them the $315M Mega Millions jackpot.

A secretary and six laboratory workers at Kaiser Permanente medical center in Garden Grove, California, Jennifer Habib, Kate Lynn Juergens, Joyce Onori, Brenda Heller, Mariza Cuya, Kathy Jones & Bob Guerzon, had chipped in $3 apiece and bought 21 tickets.

Juergens said she and her fellow winners wanted to stay anonymous for a while so they could get used to the idea of being millionaires. Although each received about $25 million before federal tax withholding, they all showed up at work the second day.

Laboratory worker Jennifer Habib said at a news conference she was still in shock but had decided to travel, fix up her house and buy a new car. I don’t know what to think or feel she said.

Mariza Cuya, another lab worker, said she would spend part of her winnings on heart surgery her 6-year-old nephew is scheduled to undergo. We (had) mortgaged a car to help pay for it she said, fighting back tears.

But again, things didn’t really go that well. Lawsuits started. Apparently three more co-workers had verbal agreements with the winners to be part of the office pool, and a fourth claimed to be The Lucky Eighth

Once you win the lottery, you become a victim of other people’s greed, apparently.

19. The Lucky Seven – the Sequel, March 2011, Mega Millions, $319M

Seven seems to be a lucky number for winning the jackpot in groups. As seven very lucky coworkers from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal split $319,000,000 between them following the Mega Millions lottery draw on March 25th, 2011. The group claimed their prize together on March 28th, 2011 after matching the 5 winning numbers of 22 – 24 – 31 – 52 – 54 and mega ball – 4.

“We’ve been playing the big jackpots for years,” said Mike Barth, the group member who purchased the lucky ticket on Wednesday, March 23rd at Coulsons News Center at 470 Broadway in Albany. Barth said the group’s fortune was sealed by the “fickle finger of fate.”

“I was at the counter. It was my turn to buy a ticket when I reached down to grab a Snickers® bar from the candy display and someone reached over me, actually cut in front of me to buy a ticket,” recalled Barth. “I thought about saying something but decided to just let it slide. I bought the next ticket…the winning ticket.”

The group decided in advance of claiming the prize that they would share the cash prize of $202,797,203. After taxes each winner took home a check with a net value of $19.129.571.

Planning what to do with their windfall varied from buying a new dishwasher to going to Disneyland.

18. Harold Diamond, Wurtsboro, NY, January 2015, Mega Millions, $326M

Harold Diamond was a retired Elementary school principal who was on his way to dinner along with his wife after election day when the weather turned bad. “My wife insisted we stop […] to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed.”

After purchasing a Subway sandwich, Diamond noticed the Mega Millions terminal, and decided to purchase 10 tickets. He used the Quick Pick to choose his numbers.

I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it. I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302 and I thought, wait a minute – I bought a ticket there last night!”

17. John and Sandy Belawsky of Villas, NJ; Bernard and Tucker Adcock of Buckingham, VA; SB Alchemy Holdings, Ltd., of Dallas, TX; Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett of Dundalk, MD, August 2007, Mega Millions, $330M


The $330 million jackpot from the Mega Millions drawing held on August 2007 was won by 4 lucky ticket holders, each receiving $82.5 million.

The New Jersey Lottery announced Sandra and John Belawsky as winners. John is a disabled veteran with over twenty years’ experience in auto finance and banking, and Sandra’s prior career was also in banking. Both have been retired for several years and have enjoyed the quiet life in Cape May County.

The Belawskys chose the cash option, which means they will receive $48,615,187 before the 25% federal withholding tax. The Belawskys purchased their winning ticket at Blitz’s Villas Market. The tickets were selected at random.

It is though important noting that they are not the only winners.

Two Virginia brothers are now $82 million richer also. Bernard and Tucker Adcock came forward to claim their share.

Bernard Adcock, the younger brother, is a retired prison worker. Until last week, Tucker worked for Buckingham County, monitoring one of the county’s recycling centers.

Rather than a lump sum, the Adcocks chose annual payments of $3.1 million before taxes. Tucker bought a new pickup. The brothers promise not to let the money change them.

SB Alchemy Holdings, Ltd., of Dallas, has claimed one quarter of the jackpot from the draw, on behalf of the third winner, who decided to remain anonymous.

The value of this annual-payments-option ticket is $82,500,000 over 26 years, and was paid with an initial payment of $3,175,000 and continues with 25 annual payments of $3,173,000.

Scott Carter, representative of the legal entity, said his client preferred to do only minimal publicity and chose him to speak on its behalf.

The odds of purchasing a winning ticket were one in 176 million.

The last but not the least, Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett of Dundalk, MD is the fourth winning ticket-holder. The 40-year-old accountant’s wife bought $10 of Mega Millions tickets just hours before the big drawing. He says it’s the best investment they have ever made.

Bunky chose the cash option of $48.6 million, giving him over $32.6 million after taxes. Although no one has called claiming to be a long-lost relative, Bartlett has a message for anyone who’s thinking about it: I’m not giving anybody any money besides my parents and my wife’s parents.

As Bartlett was working at a Mystickal Voyage new age store, he said he would like to help the manager expand the store first. After that, he added, he would start teaching Reiki, a form of Japanese healing.

16. Kevyn Ogawa in San Gabriel, CA & James “Jimmy” Groves of the Bronx, NY, August 2009, Mega Millions, $336M


James “Jimmy” Groves was no stranger to New York’s Mega Millions game. The 49-year-old grandfather had been playing at the Mega Million lottery since May 2002. His loyalty paid off 7 years later, as the former Madison Square Garden employee accepted his 50 percent share of a $336M jackpot.

Madison Square Garden laborer says It feels great! I’m going to Disney World!

As a result of choosing the annuity, Groves received his $168,000,000 prize in 26 gross annual payments totaling more than $6,400,000 each. He receives an annual net check totaling just over $4,000,000 through 2035.

This time, the odds of winning the drawing were about 1 in 176 million.

The other half of the incredible $336M jackpot was won by Kevyn Ogawa from San Gabriel, California. The winner claimed his prize in Van Nuys. He took the cash option, so his winnings totaled $107 million. He had bought his ticket from an Asian noodle shop in San Gabriel.

Ogawa declined to be interviewed about his win, the lottery said, while the Los Angeles Times reported he is a 33-year-old resident of the San Fernando Valley.

The noodle shop that sold lottery ticket basks in the rich broth of fame. The shop is best known for its simple and affordable fare. A bowl of noodles goes for less than $5. But after Kevyn purchased the winning lottery ticket there, the restaurant became an instant landmark. Hungry? I’ll take $166M with those noodles, thank you!

15. Donald Lawson of Lapeer Michigan, 15th August 2012, Powerball, $337M

A long-time lottery fan, Donald Lawson, always knew he would win something, but never did he expect that something would be a jackpot of $337 million.

I couldn’t breathe,” Lawson said, in describing what it felt like when he realized he had a Powerball ticket worth millions of dollars. “I had to look at the ticket twice.”

Lawson won the jackpot with numbers that he chose – 6-27-46-51-56 and Powerball 21. These were not Lawson’s usual number he said that this time he was “guided from above” when choosing his numbers.

Following his win Lawson called his sister to tell her to quit her job and come home. Lawson chose to claim the cash prize of $224.6 million which following taxes left him with a very large lump sum of $158.7 million.

Lawson’s first item on his to do list? A vacation—”to wherever I want to go!”

14. Pedro Quezada of Passaic, NJ, 27th March 2013, Powerball, $338M

Dominican Republican born Pedro Quezada claimed the fifth largest Powerball win in the multi-state lottery’s history in March of 2013, effectively putting an end to his days of managing a Bodega in Passaic, New Jersey. Opting for the lump sum, Quezada received $221 million before taxes which he generously shared with his wife and five children. His generosity didn’t stop there; Quezada also offered to pay rent for residents living near his bodega for “at least a month or two months.” Before the win, Quezada would awake at 5 a.m. to open his bodega, Apple Deli Grocery, and close at 11 p.m. Luckily for him, the Eagle Liquors store near the bodega would change his life forever with one simple ticket!

13. Chaney & West Families, Oregon, October 2005, Powerball, $340M


Steve West and Bob Chaney are Powerball winners. The Medford, Oregon residents and friends won a $340 million jackpot in October of 2005.

Each of the recipients opted for a one-time, lump-sum payment, which was based on a cash prize of more than $164.4 million, or about $110 million after taxes.

You’d expect such a jackpot to lead to a lavish life. But that’s not the case for these two. They’re more concerned about helping others.

Steve and Carolyn West, and Frances Chaney have created the West Family Foundation and the Robert & Frances Chaney Family Foundation to support nonprofit organizations that serve poor children and families in Southern Oregon.

We’d been in some of those situations ourselves before the lottery Carolyn West said, recalling financial struggles after her husband lost his job and their oldest daughter, Erin, was diagnosed with diabetes.

“We just want to give back,” she said. We don’t expect anything in return.

The Wests and Chaney each bought a house within about a mile of each other and a few new vehicles. Both families have traveled a bit, the Wests to Italy and Switzerland with their two daughters, and Chaney on trips with her other four children.

Unfortunately, less than a year after accepting his winnings, Bob Chaney (73) passed away from a brain injury suffered during a fall.

12. Larry & Nancy Ross, Michigan and Joe & Sue Kainz, Illinois, May 2000, The Big Game, $363M


Larry and Nancy Ross of Shelby Township, Michigan, became part of U.S. gaming history, as they claimed their share of the amazing lottery jackpot: the $363 million grand prize in the May, 2000 Big Games drawing!

We still can’t believe we won! said Mr. Ross of his family’s unbelievable good fortune. The whole thing is overwhelming and we are still adjusting to the shock.

Interviewed about the winning, Larry explained: he was buying a hot dog, and had just one $100 bill. That’s all I had. And then I asked the guy to give me the change in Lotto tickets. One of all those 98 lottery tickets was actually worth every penny!

Mr. Ross said he and Nancy plan to share the wealth with several family members and will take some time to figure out what to do with the rest. He joked that he may take up a new career: golf.

Born and raised in the metro-Detroit area, Larry, 47, and Nancy, 46, owned and operated Bush Pools, a pool installation and maintenance business that had been in the family for 13 years. They have three children and one grandchild and celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary with a little extra cash.

The Rosses decided to take their $181.5 million share of the jackpot winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment for approximately $90 million.

The Big Game is now known as the Mega Millions.

The second winning couple claimed half of the jackpot and said they plan to “have a lot of fun” and take a trip to Ireland with the money. Brewing company owner, Joe Kainz, along with his wife, Sue, from Lake County suburb north of Chicago, bought the winning ticket at a gas station/convenience store in Lake Zurich.

To me money has never meant anything more than freedom. So, I think we have quite a bit of it here said Sue Kainz.

A new roof rather than retirement is the priority for the couple. Prior to winning the lottery, Joe Kainz and his wife Sue owned a successful brewing company called Wild Onion Brewing Co. They had three kids that worked at the brewery – Michael, Patrick, and John. At the time, the couple said that they didn’t plan to retire. We put this whole thing together with blood, sweat and tears. And there’s no way we’re going to give this up!

They plan to pay some bills and expand their business with their lump-sum winnings of about $90 million before taxes.

11. 8 coworkers from Nebraska meat processing plant, ConAgra Foods, February 2006, Powerball, $365M


Two refugees from Vietnam who have lived in Lincoln for 16 years. A young political refugee whose family fled its civil war-torn home in central Africa in 1999. Five are married and have children. Three are single. Seven are men. One is a woman. They are second- and third-shift supervisors and maintenance workers at Cook’s food processing plant from Nebraska, who each threw $5 into the hands of luck, and found themselves millionaires the second day.

Quang Dao, 56, David Gehle, 53, Alain Maboussou, 26, Robert Stewart, 30, Michael Terpstra, 47, Dung Tran, 34, Eric Zornes, 40 and Chasity Rutjens, 29 are the ones that didn’t have to wake up from the dream anymore.

Five of the winners said that for now, they will keep their jobs, packing ham and corned beef on swing and graveyard shifts.

The winners said they often pooled their money with other workers when Powerball jackpots exceeded $40 million. I don’t think they have a reason to be jealous because when it’s a pool day, we ask people to put like in five bucks, so if you wasn’t there or you didn’t put five bucks in, sorry said Maboussou, one of the winners.

They agreed on the cash option and will take the money in one lump sum. The cash option is $177.3 million, or $124.1 million after taxes. Each winner receives $22.1 million, which will amount to $15.5 million after taxes are withheld.

10.  Jim & Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Washington; Holly Lahti of Rathdrum, Idaho, 4th January 2011, Mega Millions, $380M

At the time, this Mega Millions jackpot was the second highest lottery prize of all time, with only the Messners of Woodbine, NJ and the Nabors of Dalton, GA, having shared anything bigger – a $390 million Mega Millions from March 2007. So it is unsurprising that it took time for both winning tickets to be revealed.

Jim and Carolyn McCullar from Ephrata, Washington, were the first to claim their $190 million share for matching all six numbers (4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and Mega Ball 42). The McCullar’s bought their ticket in an Ephrata Safeway and Carolyn is quoted as saying I had faith one day that we were going to hit it… You got to have faith!

Carolyn’s husband Jim, a real estate agent approaching 70 years old, looked into his wallet, said I got eight dollars before lifting the novelty lottery cheque high in the air and remarking I couldn’t get this in my wallet.

The second winner was far slower to come forward and all the lottery world knew was that the other winning ticket was bought in Post Falls, Idaho, not far from Washington. Eventually the second North West winner did step forward, a nearly-30 year old called Holly Lahti, who used the win to complete her move for relationship independence.

Holly recently appeared back in her home city, joining old co-workers raising funds for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. Lahti matched the total amount of charitable gifts raised at the local fundraiser. In her first ever video news interview, Holly explained how her absence from the spotlight helped and that she was now in a good place and said I’m happy. I’m happy [that] my girls are happy. And I’m happy I’m able to do things for my children I wasn’t able to do in the past.

9. Elaine and Harold Messner of Woodbine, NJ; Eddie Nabors of Dalton, Georgia, March 2007, Mega Millions, $390M


In March 2007 two lucky winners shared the biggest jackpot in lottery history. A Cape May County, New Jersey couple, Elaine and Harold “Barry” Messner, and a truck driver from northwest Georgia, Eddie Nabors of Rocky Face, about 90 miles north of Atlanta, set a new record of $390 million, by winning the Mega Millions jackpot record, the richest lottery prize in U.S. history.

Harold Messner, 57, worked as a self-employed builder. Elaine Messner, 56, worked with him managing the business. This is that early retirement we’ve always dreamed of Harold Messner said in the statement.

Elaine and Harold “Barry” Messner hid their secret and have carefully planned for the moment. Through a lawyer they hired before going to the New Jersey Lottery to claim their prize – $87.4 million in cash, after taxes – the Messners declined all comment. There was no giant check and smiling for cameras for the Messners. They entertained no questions about just how delicious it must feel winning that many millions or exactly how they planned to spend the gigantic jackpot.

Harold and Elaine did everything right that you could ask of a winner in a big jackpot he said. They signed their ticket, they put it in a safe place, and then they sought legal and financial advice. Those are the steps we love to see our winners take before they come forward said William T. Jourdain, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery.

Eddie Nabors, a truck driver for Mohawk Industries, father of three grown children and six grandchildren, is the second world’s largest jackpot winner.

A coworker told me that somebody in Dalton won, so I looked it up in the newspaper Nabors said. I couldn’t believe it. I was numb.

When he was inquired at the headquarters how he wanted to spend his lottery winning, he said: I’m gonna go fishing. Apparently, Margaret DeFrancisco, CEO of Georgia Lottery, had a pillow on her chair saying Gone fishing. She gave it to Mr. Nabors to pose for pictures at the press conference where he received his oversized ceremonial cheque. He purchased a new boat afterward and said he plans to take it everywhere. Also, he said he wanted to buy a new home for his daughter, who lives in a mobile home.

Nabors had the day off after he “called in rich” to his job, where he had worked for seven years as a truck driver.

Because he took the cash option, Nabors will be taking home $116 million dollars, before taxes. Lottery officials estimated he would be left with about $80 million.

The odds of hitting it: about 1 in 176 million. When the draw of the largest ever jackpot of $390 million was about to take place, ticket sales in Virginia exceeded 10,500 tickets per minute.

Many people think that winning the lottery is a thing of dreams, where woes are cleared and financial fears removed. But there are stories that begun as dreams and ended as nightmares.

Asked about how things evolved, most of the lottery winners admitted that it’s not all that easy.

“We found out when we didn’t have the money, we dreamed about all these fantastic things you think you need,” said Steve and Carolyn, winners of the $340M jackpot. The couple recognise that it’s still [about] being around family. We are friends with everybody… We don’t feel that we’ve changed, but rather that the people around us have changed in how they see us.

8. Anonymous, South Carolina, 18th September 2013, Powerball, $399.4M

This fantastic US lotto jackpot followed on the heels of a staggering $448.4 million top prize split three ways just six weeks earlier. Whereas the August prize was split by 18 people (all but two of whom were part of a syndicate called Ocean’s 16), September’s enormous $399.4 million Powerball jackpot had only one winner.

South Carolina’s lottery laws allow winners to protect their anonymity, so although this was (and still is) the fifth largest lottery prize ever and the second largest to be won by a single ticket holder, there’s very little to say about the 9-digit multi-millionaire except that they bought their ticket at a Murphy Express gas stop.

What we do know is that the southern state has seen 18 $1 million+ Powerball winners across 2012 and 2013, compared to just six in the 2010-2011 period. Between 2010 and 2013, South Carolina claimed almost $700,000,000 in US Powerball top prizes, with significant sums being received and used to support state education.

7. Yoda Man, California 19th February 2014, Powerball, $425 Million

February 2014 was a great month for the Yoda fan, also known as B. Buxton, who won the whopping $425 million in US Powerball.

Buxton chose the cash option, taking home $242 million in a lump sum before taxes, and reported that he was going to donate some of his win as well as travel around the world.

It was six weeks before he came forward to claim the prize after he realized he’d won.

“Sitting on a ticket of this value was very scary,” he said, according to lottery officials. “It’s amazing how a little slip of paper can change your life.”

6. Paul White of Ham Lake, MN, Ocean’s 16 syndicate of Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance, NJ and Mario Scarnici of South Brunswick, NJ, 7th August 2013, Powerball, $448.4M

Coming less than three months after Gloria MacKenzie’s $590.5 million jackpot win in the US Powerball, this August draw was billed by many as the draw that could have smashed the $1 billion barrier… if only it had one more rollover! Lottery commentators had reason to feel optimistic, with the US Powerball passing $400 million a draw faster than ever before. As theLotter wrote in lottery news soon after the draw:

“Three tickets stood in the way of this happening (by matching the all-important US Powerball numbers 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and PB 32) and the identities of their owners are slowly becoming known.”

The first winner to step forward was Paul White of Ham Lake, Minnesota. Clearly ecstatic to have won his $149 million share of the US Powerball jackpot, the 45-year old electrical contractor brought regaled how his win was (sort of) pre-empted at his father’s 80th birthday party weeks earlier. Playing a game that asked players to match family members with descriptions, Paul was linked to ‘their financial plan consists of playing the lottery’ – if only everyone at the party knew how apt that would turn out to be.

The second winner was actually 16 winners, a lottery syndicate of players all of which worked at Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance. Each winner earned a $9 million share ($5.4 million as a lump sum) and quickly became known as Ocean’s 16, after the films starring George Clooney as heist-master general Danny Ocean. Incredibly not one of the winners missed work even after finding out they were all dollar multi-millionaires, although it is unlikely that this will continue.

It took several weeks for Mario Scarnici of South Brunswick, NJ, to come forward to collect his $149 million share, worth $62 million as a lump sum after taxes. Even after Scarnici contacted Powerball lottery officials, he has remained relatively behind the scenes, preferring not to attract the attention enjoyed by Mr. White and the Ocean’s 16 crew.

5. Mother of Four, Anonymous, & Anonymous, 11th February, 2015, US Powerball, $564 million.

Three lucky winners the HUGE jackpot in February 2015. The jackpot, worth an astounding $564 million, was won by a single mother of four in Puerto Rico, as well as two people from Texas and North Carolina.

The prize is also the third biggest in vash-value, worth $381 million!

4. Matthew Good of Phoenix, AZ and Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, MO, 28th November 2012, Powerball, $587.5M

The Missouri winners of this milestone Powerball win announced their big victory ceremoniously at the high school where they became sweethearts in the 1970s. Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Missouri spent $10 on five tickets with random numbers and in return they received $136.6 million! These high school sweethearts made national news and put the tiny town of Dearborn on the map!

The other recipient of the huge jackpot, Matthew Good of Phoenix, Arizona settled for a $192 million cash payout before taxes. Though he wanted to remain anonymous, his new found wealth had become a matter of public record. Luckily for the lotto world, Good is a man that lives up to his name. Obviously his life will be good for a long time to come with his massive Powerball win!

3. Gloria C. MacKenzie from Zephyrhills, FL, 19th May 2013, Powerball, $590.5M

Had it not been for a grand gesture by the courteous customer waiting in line at the Publix Supermarket before Gloria MacKenzie, she would have not become the winner of the second largest lottery jackpot. Mindy Crandell, the polite customer waiting in front of MacKenzie that fateful day before the draw, could not have fathomed that by giving up her spot in line would mean giving up a record $590.5 million lottery win.  The 84-year-old Zephyrhills resident experienced a life changing event with that simple act of kindness, altering her future in ways that she would not have imagined before hitting the Powerball jackpot. Though MacKenzie refrained from talking to reporters after coming forward to claim her giant lump sum payment of $370 million, she lamented about the fateful random act of kindness, “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.”

After sixteen rollovers and millions of tickets sold around the world, US Powerball’s record $600 million mega jackpot was finally won. Breaking Powerball’s previous jackpot record of $587.5 million, the US lotto giant seemed like it was headed for Mega Millions’ world record. Fortunately for Mega Millions and one lucky ticket holder in Zephyrhills, FL, Powerball’s largest jackpot ever was won by a single ticket, which is also the largest single ticket win ever recorded.

2. Ira Curry, Atlanta, Georgia, and TBA, San Jose, California and  17th December 2013, Mega Millions, $648M 

This win followed a particularly exciting Mega Millions run that started just before the US lotto giant made major format changes in October 2013. Old Mega Millions passed on a 5-rollover, $55,000,000 jackpot that NEW Mega Millions grew by 1,000%. When nobody claimed the Friday jackpot, a $550,000,000 top prize was announced. As the week progressed, the jackpot grew, to $586 million and then to $636 million on draw night. Mega Millions ticket sales swelled the grand prize so much that the final figure wasn’t announced until after the draw, ‘settling’ on $648,000,000!

The enormous jackpot was inspired by 21 consecutive rollovers, was  just $8 million short of breaking the Mega Millions and world lottery jackpot records and was one rollover short of potentially smashing $1 BILLION – the holy grail of the lottery world. But more importantly, this jackpot run was an important message to fellow USA lottery Powerball, which was undoubtedly 2013’s leader of the lottery world, until Mega Millions created its second biggest prize ever.

So who finally matched Mega Millions winning numbers 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and Mega Ball 7 ?

There were two winners, who each earned a $324,000,000 share of the pot, worth $173,819,742.50 before taxes. The winning tickets were bought in San Jose, California, and Stone Mountain, Georgia. The first to reveal herself was 56 year old Georgia Mega Millions winner Ira Curry, who actually chose her numbers based on family birthdays and the family’s lucky number seven, which turned out to be the Mega Ball and the difference between a $1 million second place prize and $324 million jackpot share.

The Californian winning ticket was bought at Jennifer’s Gift Shop in San Jose by Steve Tran, who almost lost his ticket – he hadn’t even realized he’d won, since the winning ticket was in a pile of other old tickets that he’d neglected to check!

Well done NEW Mega Millions for your timely return to form.

1. WORLD RECORD JACKPOT split by three winners in Kansas, Illinois, and Maryland, 30th March 2012, Mega Millions, $656M

The world’s largest jackpot drawing was on March 30th, 2012, causing a world-wide frenzy for Mega Millions tickets. As the jackpot seemed to rise to epic proportions, players and fans began to wonder whether the prize pool would ever be won. Finally on Friday, April 6th, the first of the three winners from Kansas claimed a piece of the prize; $218.6 million. Kansas law allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, and that’s exactly why the world doesn’t know the identity of this lucky Mega Millions winner.

At least the lotto world was able to seemingly identify the Maryland winners; three Maryland public school system employees who dubbed themselves “The Three Amigos.” These winners, a woman in her twenties, another in her fifties, and a man in his forties, purchased a total of sixty tickets around the state; a $20 per person investment that ended up giving them a return of $34.99 million each! After splitting a massive $218.6 million load, it’s safe to say that these amigos are probably each other’s richest friends!

The last of the record-jackpot winners, Merle and Patricia Butler, stayed up all night watching the news and surfing the internet to find out how many winners they would be sharing their prize with after discovering they had won. When word spread around their native town of Red Bud, Illinois, friends would ask Merle jokingly if he had won. Little did they know he was completely serious. The retired couple came forward on April 18th to step in front of the press to claim their cash lump-sum of $111 million after taxes. With a share of the largest lottery jackpot win ever recorded, some might say that the Butler’s retirement plans got just a little extra sweeter.