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$1 Billion Lottery Prize Ticket Was Sold in Michigan

An unidentified person bought the Mega Millions ticket at a grocery store in Novi, Mich. It was the third-biggest jackpot in U.S. history.

  • Jan. 23, 2021

The winning ticket for a $1 billion jackpot, the third-biggest lottery prize in U.S. history, was sold at a Michigan grocery store, according to state lottery officials.

The winning numbers, which were drawn on Friday night, were picked by a customer at a Kroger grocery store in Novi, a city of about 60,000 people that is 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

State lottery officials said the identity of the winner will not be known until the person contacts them. Michigan law requires that winners of games played across states, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, be publicly identified, said Jake Harris, a spokesman for the state lottery.

The winner can choose to collect the prize through an initial payment and then annual payments for 29 years, or receive a one-time cash payment of about $739 million. In that case, the winner would get about $530 million, after taxes, state lottery officials said.

If the winner chose an annual payout, the initial payment would be about $11.3 million after taxes, with payments increasing 5 percent every year. The final payment would be about $46.7 million after taxes, Mr. Harris said.

The odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 302,575,350, according to Mega Millions. The winning numbers in the Mega Millions lottery were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball number of 24.

The numbers were picked two days after the numbers were selected for a winning ticket in a $731 million Powerball jackpot, which was sold in Lonaconing, Md., a down-on-its-luck former mining town in the virus-battered northwestern corner of the state. The winning ticket was sold at Coney Market, a convenience store that sells subs and pizza in Lonaconing, a town of about 1,200 in Allegany County, which has the most Covid-19 cases per capita in the state. About a quarter of the population of Lonaconing lives below the poverty line, according to census data.

A spokeswoman for Kroger congratulated the winner in Michigan and the mayor of Novi, Bob Gatt, said the news came a month after the city was named “the second-most innovative city in the country” by Entrepreneur magazine.

He described Novi as a rapidly growing city that had once been a rural outpost of Detroit but was now a hub of car manufacturing that was attracting tech companies like Google.

Mr. Gatt said he was “ecstatic” for the winner. “I’d be better if I had the winning ticket,” he said.

The jackpot was the second-largest prize in the history of Mega Millions.

In 2018, a person who chose to remain anonymous won $1.537 billion in South Carolina. That prize remains the world’s largest lottery prize ever awarded on a single ticket, according to Mega Millions.

The biggest lottery prize ever awarded in the United States was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016, according to The Associated Press. It was divided among three ticket winners in California, Florida and Tennessee.

A lingering mythology holds that the winners of big jackpots become cursed after their strokes of good fortune. There are numerous accounts of winners who, unequipped to manage their newfound wealth, go on to struggle with drugs or alcohol, ruined relationships and insolvency.

While one influential study in 1978 found that lottery winners were not any happier than their neighbors or more optimistic about the future, other studies have countered the notion of the so-called lottery curse.

The studies suggest that the winners’ general psychological well-being bounces back over time.

In 2018, a New Hampshire woman filed a lawsuit to keep her name from being released to the public after she won $560 million in the Powerball lottery.

Lawyers for the woman, who called herself Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said she wished to use a portion of her winnings for charity “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery ‘winners.’”

An unidentified person bought the Mega Millions ticket at a grocery store in Novi, Mich. It was the third-biggest jackpot in U.S. history.

10 biggest lottery jackpots in U.S. history!

Lottery fever grips the nation

FBN’s Kristina Partsinevelos on the excitement over the big Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots.

With lottery fever once again gripping the nation as Mega Millions’ $340 million jackpot continues to go unclaimed, what better time than now to explore the 10 largest lottery winnings in the country’s history.

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Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this list in the fact that many of the grand prize winnings are divided up between more than one winner, with 24 percent of all winnings withheld up front for taxes and another 13 percent due at the end of the year.

Here’s the list of the largest lottery prizes in U.S. history — and the people who won them.

1. $1.586 billion Powerball

Date: January 2016

Marvin and Mae Acosta of Van Nuys, California

John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee

David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Melbourne Beach, Florida

Ricky Singh, manager of this Jackson, Miss., RaceWay store, completes a patron’s purchase next to a soon-to-be filled scratch-off lottery ticket dispenser, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

2. $1.537 billion Mega Millions

Date: October 2018

Winners: 1 (largest single-ticket win on record)

Location: Anonymous winner in Simpsonville, South Carolina

A woman fills out a Mega Millions lottery ticket on Oct. 19, 2018, in New York City. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

3. $768.4 million Powerball

Date: March 2019

A single ticket sold in Wisconsin matched all six numbers in the Wednesday night drawing. Manuel Franco, 24, claimed the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history after several weeks of the prize going unclaimed.

4. $758.7 million Powerball

Date: August 2017

Winner: Mavis L. Wanczyk of Chicopee, Massachusetts

A customer of this RaceWay Convenience Store in Jackson, Miss., exits past a Mississippi Lottery reminder sign, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

5. $656 million Mega Millions

Date: March 2012

Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois

One anonymous winner in Kansas and three anonymous winners in Maryland, who referred to themselves as “The Three Amigos.”

6. $648 million Mega Millions

Date: December 2013

Ira Currey of Stone Mountain, Georgia

Steve Tran of North California

7. $590.5 million Powerball

Winner: Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrills, Florida

A handwritten sign taped over electronic numbers on a Powerball sign at a corner store in San Diego, California, Jan. 13, 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX)

8. $587.5 million Powerball

Date: November 2012

Cindy and Mark Hill of Camden Point, Missouri

Matthew Good of Foundation Hills, Arizona

9. $564 million Powerball

Date: February 2015

Marie Homles of Shallotte, North Carolina

Both the Puerto Rico and Texas winner have remained anonymous

10. $559.7 million Powerball

Date: January 2018

Location: Anonymous winner in New Hampshire

Got lottery fever? Here are the 10 biggest lottery jackpots in the country's history. ]]>