Biggest American Lottery Jackpots of All Time | theLotter
 
 
 

10 Biggest American Lottery Jackpots of All Time

When you win the lottery, you become incredibly rich overnight! Even winning a second place prize in Powerball and Mega Millions will make you an instant millionaire. But, there are millionaires and there are millionaires. When jackpots roll over and grow to epic proportions, the winners become extremely wealthy, even richer than many celebrities!

We’ve listed below the ten biggest American lottery jackpots of all time, counting down from tenth place to the world record jackpot prize. Are you ready to find your name on this list?

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10. Anonymous - 6 January 2018, Powerball $559.7M

One of the first pieces of advice given to the winner of a huge jackpot prize is to sign the back of their lottery ticket. The winner of a huge Powerball jackpot prize in January 2018, a woman from New Hampshire, said that advice was a “huge mistake”. If she had received proper legal advice in time, she would have signed the ticket with the name of a trust that would ensure her anonymity. According to New Hampshire Lottery regulations, the identity of lottery winners must be made public. The jackpot winner stated that she desires to protect her personal safety "and the freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events without being known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars." The woman went to court in a case that has the potential to change lottery laws around the world.

Amazingly, a judge ruled in favour of the woman who sued to retain her anonymity. The judge stated that if the winner's "identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and unwanted communications." As a result, we will never know the name of this winner of a huge American jackpot prize.


9. Marie Holmes; TL Management Trust; & Anonymous - 11 February 2015, Powerball, $564.1M

Mother-of-four Marie Holmes has not had the easiest life. She was raising her four kids as a single mother and was forced to quit her job to take care full-time of her son with special needs. Marie asked her mother to buy a ticket for her when the Powerball jackpot grew to an obscene amount. Her mother obliged and the rest is lottery history.

Holmes was one of three winners of the $564.1 million jackpot. She became the biggest lottery winner in North Carolina's history. Holmes vowed to use the money for good causes. Since then Holmes has been in and out of the news for both positive and not-so-positive reasons as she used some of her millions to help out her church, and some of the money to bail out her boyfriend on a drug charge.

Another winner claimed their share of the prize as the TL Management Trust. The winning ticket was bought at the Appletree Food Mart in Princeton, Texas.

The last winner, a resident of Puerto Rico, remained completely anonymous. All three winners collected their prize as a one-time cash payout of $127 million each, which ended up being $87.9 million after taxes.

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8. Matthew Good; Mark and Cindy Hill - 28 November 2012, Powerball, $587.5M

The Missouri winners of this epic Powerball win announced their big victory ceremoniously at the high school where they first fell in love in the 1970s. Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Missouri spent $10 on five tickets with random numbers, and in return they received a $192 million cash payout before taxes! These high school sweethearts made national news and put Dearborn on the map!

The other recipient of the huge jackpot, Matthew Good of Phoenix, Arizona, settled on the lump sum cash payment, as well. Talk about living up to your name! Obviously Good’s life will be good for a long time to come with his massive Powerball win!


7. Gloria C. MacKenzie - 19 May 2013, Powerball, $590.5M

Mindy Crandell was waiting in line at the Publix supermarket near Tampa, Florida, in front of Gloria MacKenzie, an 84-year-old Zephyrhills resident. Crandell decided quite courteously to let the woman go in front of her, not realising that giving up her spot in line would mean giving up a record $590.5 million lottery win! MacKenzie took her spot, bought a Quick Pick, and became the winner of what was at the time the largest jackpot ever won by a single ticket holder. Remarkably, Crandell said she had no regrets and preferred to teach her daughter that kindness was more important than money.

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6. Ira Curry; and Steve Tran - 17 December 2013, Mega Millions, $648M

This huge jackpot was made possible largely due to major format changes made by Mega Millions in October 2013. When the new rules went into effect, they served to boost the lottery’s jackpot significantly. In this case, after a series of 21 rollovers, Mega Millions ticket sales went through the roof. It wasn’t even clear how high the jackpot would be in the final draw but the prize ended up being $648,000,000!

Two winners 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 winner to come forward to claim the prize was 56 year old Ira Curry, who chose the numbers based on family birthdays and the family's lucky number seven, which was selected as the Mega Ball.

The California winning ticket was bought at Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose by Steve Tran, who almost lost his ticket. Tran 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!

5. Merle and Patricia Butler; The Three Amigos; & Anonymous - 30 March 2012, Mega Millions, $656M

Mega Million's largest jackpot drawing ever (and world record at the time) was held on 30 March 2012. As the jackpot rose to epic proportions, players and fans began to wonder whether the prize pool would ever be won!

On the Friday after the win, the first of three winners claimed their $218.6 million share of the prize. Kansas law allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, which was what this wise lottery winner chose to do.

At least the lotto world was able to semi-identify the Maryland winners, three Maryland public school system employees who dubbed themselves "The Three Amigos." These American lottery 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 each a huge return on their money! After splitting a massive $218.6 million, it's safe to say that these amigos are probably each other's richest friends!

The last winning ticket of this enormous jackpot belonged to Merle and Patricia Butler. The couple stayed up all night watching the news and surfing the internet to find out how many people had won the jackpot. When word that the winning ticket had been purchased in their native town of Red Bud, Illinois, friends jokingly asked Merle if he was the winner. Little did they know! The retired couple came forward on April 18th to claim their prize's cash option payout of $111 million after taxes.

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4. Anonymous Players from Iowa and New York - 27 October 2018, Powerball $687.8M

Two tickets, one purchased in Iowa and the other purchased in New York, matched the Powerball numbers drawn on 27 October 2018. The two as yet unidentified lucky players will split the 4th largest jackpot in US lottery history.

After originally being advertised as offering a $750 million jackpot, the top prize was downsized to $687.8 million after the drawing with a cash option of $396.2 million. The numbers drawn were white balls 08, 12, 13, 19, 27, plus Powerball 04, and Power Play multiplier 3X.

3. Mavis Wanczyk - 23 August 2017, Powerball, $758.7M

It looked like Powerball was on its way to a second billion-dollar jackpot, but that was not to be. Even so, the winner of the draw on 23 August 2017 went straight into the record books! Mavis Wanczyk, a hospital worker from Massachusetts, was the sole winner of an incredible $758.7 million jackpot prize. This win set records, at the time, for the second biggest American lottery jackpot ever awarded, as well as the highest annuitized jackpot and cash value prize ever won by a single ticket.

Surprisingly, Massachusetts Lottery officials and Wanczyk held a press conference shortly after the draw. This was quite unusual as big lottery winners tend to retain their privacy as long as possible. Apparently Wanczyk couldn't keep her jackpot win a secret!

2. Anonymous from South Carolina - 23 October 2018, Mega Millions $1.537 Billion

A single ticket sold in South Carolina was the only winner of a $1.537 billion ($878 million cash) Mega Millions jackpot in the lottery’s draw on 23 October 2018.

The draw had been advertised with a $1.6 billion jackpot and it looked like Mega Millions was set to replace Powerball with a new world's record for largest jackpot ever. But after the draw results were announced and it became known that there was a single winner in South Carolina, the final prize amount was reduced because ticket sales had been lower than expected.

The winning numbers in the draw were the white balls 5, 28, 62, 65 and 70, plus the gold Mega Ball 5. The historic Mega Millions jackpot smashed the lottery's former record of $656 million, set in March 2012. In addition to the jackpot winner, the sales frenzy produced an incredible 36 second prize tickets.

1. WORLD RECORD JACKPOT! Lisa & John Robinson; The Nickel 95 Trust; & Marvin and Mae Acosta - 13 January 2016, Powerball, $1.58 Billion

US Powerball made significant rule changes in 2015, which they hoped would give them a billion-dollar jackpot by 2020. Turns out they only had to wait a few months, not years, to see their billionaire dreams come true.

After more than two months of rollovers, the jackpot was climbing closer and closer to the $1 billion mark. It was utter madness around the world as millions of people clamoured to buy Powerball tickets off- and online. When the jackpot finally rose to $1.58 billion, the whole world held its breath in anticipation. On 13 January 2016, three tickets with the winning numbers -- 4, 8, 19, 27, 34 and Powerball 10 -- made lottery history.

John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee were so excited, they just had to let the entire nation know that they were one of the fantastically lucky winners. John, an Air Force veteran, and Lisa, who works in a dermatology clinic, participated in a television interview before they even claimed their winnings!

The Tennessee Lottery confirmed that the pair was indeed one of the historic lottery winners and the couple claimed its unbelievable $528.8 million share at a lottery press conference. The couple brought along their daughter Tiffany and their dog Abby, who promptly fell asleep as they were handed their epic cheque. Lisa and John decided to take the lump sum cash option of $327.8 million before taxes.

Another $528.7 million prize was claimed by The Nickel 95 Trust. The trustee is Maureen Smith, 70, of Melbourne Beach, Florida. The Trust also chose to receive the winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment.

The final winning Powerball ticket belonged to Marvin and Mae Acosta from southern California. Unlike the other two winners, the Acostas waited seven months before they came forward to claim their third of the prize. The reason for the delay was that the couple had enlisted a team of lawyers and financial advisers to help handle this incredible prize.


Biggest American Lottery Jackpots - Can You Win One?

You may have noticed that NY Lotto jackpots are not included on this list and that's because state-operated lotteries have better winning odds than the big multi-state lotteries.

Winning the biggest American lottery jackpots is an incredible feat, and you’re probably envious of the winners! There is only one way to secure your place on our top ten list, and that is by playing the lottery! Choose your lottery and purchase your lottery tickets now!