According to lottery announcements, a fortunate individual who purchased a Mega Millions ticket in Florida has won a jackpot of $1.58 billion US dollars ($2.12 billion CAD) on Tuesday night.
As per the Florida Lottery, this win is the largest in the history of Mega Millions and the third-largest lottery jackpot ever awarded in the United States.
The winning numbers for Tuesday were 13, 19, 20, 32, and 33, with the gold Mega Ball being 14.
While the identity of the winner hasn’t been publicly revealed, the winning ticket was sold at a Publix supermarket in Neptune Beach, Florida.
The lucky winner can claim their prize as a lump sum or opt for annual payments over 30 years, both subject to taxes. According to Forbes, the lump sum amount will be approximately $783.3 million US dollars ($1.05 billion CAD) and is a more popular choice among lottery winners. The estimated annual payment after federal taxes is around $595.3 million US dollars ($799 million CAD), although the winner might face additional taxes based on their income level.
Two separate tickets sold in Florida and North Carolina also won by matching the first five numbers and activating the optional Megaplier, earning $2 million US dollars ($2.68 million CAD). Five other ticket holders matched the first five numbers without the Megaplier and earned $1 million US dollars ($1.34 million CAD).
The jackpot had been growing for about four months without a winner. Since the claim of the previous jackpot in April, there have been 31 consecutive Mega Millions drawings without a jackpot hit.
According to The Washington Post, jackpots in the billions are becoming more popular as lottery companies have made it less likely to win each game, allowing the grand prize to roll over more times. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot increased from one in 258 million to one in 302 million as a result of a number of rule modifications in 2017. These modifications included a huge beginning payout and higher ticket costs.
Before the announcement of Tuesday’s winner, the largest Mega Millions jackpot was a record-setting $1.53 billion US dollars ($2.05 billion CAD) ticket sold in South Carolina in 2018.
The all-time highest lottery jackpot in the United States was a $2.04 billion US dollars ($2.74 billion CAD) Powerball prize won last year in California.
Playing the Mega Millions lottery doesn’t require you to be a U.S. citizen or resident, meaning Canadian citizens are welcome to purchase tickets as well.
The easiest way to enter the Mega Millions draw is to either buy lottery tickets in the U.S. or have an American friend or family member purchase tickets for you. There are also third-party services that claim to buy tickets on your behalf, although this option comes with some risks as lotteries issue warnings.