Mega Millions is famous for its HUGE jackpots. Lottery players in the United States and abroad are scrambling to get their tickets before every draw for a chance to win big. Some use hot and cold numbers for the tickets, others use birthdays and anniversaries, while others simply leave it up to fate and go with the Quick Pick option. In the end, only some very lucky players become Mega Millions winners.
The top jackpot winners have scooped prizes worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Who wouldn’t want to join them? The good news is that the Mega Millions lottery is open to players outside of the US by playing online. So Mega Millions jackpot winners can come from any country on the planet! Get ready to take a chance on a life-changing jackpot and play Mega Millions online today!
Check out the top Mega Millions winners and read about their incredible stories.
1. $1.537 Billion – October 23, 2018
A single ticket purchased in South Carolina matched the five main numbers and the Mega Ball to win an unbelievable $1.537 BILLION – the largest Mega Millions jackpot prize ever awarded, the biggest jackpot in the world for a single ticket AND the second biggest lottery jackpot in the world!
The biggest winner of all times came forward to claim the record prize after months of anticipation and eventually decided to remain anonymous. South Carolina is one of the six American states that allows lottery winners the option to keep their identities private. Hogan Brown, the South Carolina Lottery Commission’s Executive Director said “We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes.”
Mr. Brown also revealed that the winning ticket was a Quick Pick and that “The winner even allowed a fellow customer to make a Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase in front of the winner while in line at the store.” The South Carolinian is fascinated by the great influence that each decision made that day has had on the billion-dollar turnout. “A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome.”, said Executive Director Brown.
2. $1.337 Billion – July 29, 2022
2022 brought a new record jackpot of $1.337 Billion! This is an amazing jackpot and the third time the Mega Millions lottery exceeds the billion-dollar threshold!
This Mega Millions prize is the second largest Mega Millions jackpot and the third largest lottery prize in the US! It was scooped by a single player on Friday the 29th of July 2022. The winning ticket was purchased in Des Plaines, Illinois and featured the winning numbers : 13-36-45-57-67 and the Mega Ball 14.
It took 29 rollovers for the jackpot to reach this amount. The final draw created 14,391,740 Mega Millions winners (all prize tiers)!
This lucky Mega Millions winner has yet to come forward, but he has 12 months to do so. Moreover, Illinois Lottery allows winners that scoop over $250,000 to remain anonymous if they want. This means that we may never know who scooped this historic prize.
3. $1.05 Billion – January 22, 2021
The beginning of 2021 was glorious for Mega Millions. The top prize kept rolling over and after a number of 37 draws that produced no jackpot winner, the winning numbers were finally matched. The draw of January 22nd was a lucky one. One ticket from Michigan matched the winning numbers of the draw.
Almost two months later, an attorney claimed the mouth-watering prize on behalf of a lottery club of four members. The identity of the four ticket holders was not revealed, but we know they planned to give some of their new found fortune to charity. You can read more about them and about this historic jackpot prize here.
4. $656 Million – March 30, 2012
Long before lottery jackpots topped the $1 billion threshold, the US Mega Millions made lottery history with its $656 million prize from March 30th, 2012. It was the largest lottery jackpot that the world had ever seen and the anticipation was through the roof. In the end, there were three winning tickets for this enormous jackpot and each of them was worth $218 million. These are the winners and their amazing stories:
The Three Amigos from Maryland
Three co-workers from the Maryland education system joined forces to play the Mega Millions together and it brought them a third of the $656 million jackpot. They bought 60 tickets together and one of them had all the 5 main numbers and the Mega Ball for the big pot.
While they were thrilled by their enormous win, they wanted to keep as much as possible about them away from the press. They came to claim their prize wearing disguises and it became a little part of lottery history. The Maryland lottery officials said that “this could not have happened to friendlier people”.
Merle and Patricia Butler from Illinois
The second part of the $656 million jackpot went to Red Bud, Illinois to Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple who, as they said, have always worked hard, loved their family, and paid their taxes religiously. “It just happened that we won the lottery”, said Merle in an interview. They claimed the cash payout for the $218 million, which left them with $111 million after taxes.
When she found out about the giant win, Patricia couldn’t stop giggling, smiling, and cheering, while Merle took a more calm and calculated approach and contacted a financial analyst. The Mega Millions jackpot winners from Red Bud are now basking in a plentiful retirement.
Anonymous Winner from Kansas
The third part of the Mega Millions jackpot went to a player from Kansas, who chose to stay away from the public eye. The state of Kansas allows lottery winners to claim their prizes anonymously, which is what the winner did. According to the Kansas Lottery officials, the winner was very swift to claim the prize. The day after the draw, he was present with a lawyer to begin the proceedings. He also chose the lump sum payout for the $218 million.
5. $648 Million – December 17, 2013
After its groundbreaking jackpot in 2012, the Mega Millions made headlines yet again in December 2013, when the first prize reached an enormous $648 million. It was shared by two ticket-holders, each of whom received a $324 million share.
Ira Curry from Georgia
The first of the Mega Millions winners was Ira Curry, a 56-year-old woman from Atlanta, Georgia. She chose the winning numbers, (8-14-17-20-39/ Mega Ball 7) using family members’ birthdays. In fact, it was her daughter who broke the news that she was a winner after hearing the Mega Millions results on the radio. Curry opted to take her share of the enormous jackpot as a one-time cash payment of $173.8 million.
Steve Tran from California
The other half of the $648 million jackpot went to Steve Tran from San Jose, California. He got his lottery ticket during a family trip, so he wasn’t in a hurry to check the results. He heard on the news that one of the winners was from his city and that’s when he remembered to check his numbers. When he saw that he had matched all the jackpot numbers, he gave his wife a big hug, and then sent the following message to his boss “I’m really sorry, boss. I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever.”
6. $543 Million – July 24th, 2018
On July 24th, 2018, a syndicate of 11 co-workers from California has won a huge Mega Millions jackpot. Initially estimated at $520 million, the prize eventually got to a whopping $543 million because of the massive ticket sales. The syndicate opted for the cash payout for the prize, which was worth $320.5 million. Ronald Reyes was the syndicate representative who came forward to collect the prize on behalf of the entire group. He said that they intend to continue working together even after this enormous win.
We want to keep our jobs. We love that company. We love what we’ve built there. We have a good time and want to stay together”, said Mr. Reyes.
7. $536 Million – July 8, 2016
This enormous jackpot of 2016 was won by a single ticket sold in a gas station. The $536 million prize was scooped by a family from Indiana. They were driving to a sports camp with their kids and they bought some Mega Millions tickets on the way. This ended up changing their lives because it turned them into millionaires.
As it turns out, they actually forgot that they had bought the tickets. They stumbled upon them by accident and checked the numbers. Much to their surprise, one of the tickets was worth $536 million. The Indiana family decided to stay as far away from the press as possible to keep a “sense of normalcy” for their children. They claimed the jackpot as the Warren D, LLC. trust. They chose the cash payment for their prize, netting $378 million and they were left with $271 million after paying taxes.
8. $533 Million – March 30, 2018
It was the second time that Richard Wahl from New Jersey ever played the lottery. He went into a gas station and together with his bill, he bought some lottery tickets with the money he had left in his pocket. He did it all on a whim, so he didn’t think twice about it. After the draw on March 30th, 2018, he checked his numbers and much to his surprise, he had matched them all. That whim brought him $533 million.
“We cried a lot together as a family, hugged a lot,” said Mr. Wahl. “It’s not only life-changing money for me, but I want it to be life-changing money for others.” He said that this Mega Millions jackpot would make a very big difference for their family. He said that he would share the money with his mother and his wife’s family, who were living in Mexico on reduced income.
Mr. Wahl chose the lump sum payment on the jackpot, which was worth $324.6 million. He is determined to use the money to build a strong foundation for his family for many years to come. He told the press he would be working closely with a team of financial advisers to make some steady investments with his Mega Millions fortune.
9. $522 Million – June 7, 2019
Laarni Bibal from California was the sole winner of the $522 million Mega Millions jackpot of June 7th, 2019. She bought her ticket from the Sorrento Deli Mart and she played with random numbers – 27-68-17-19-40/02. The next day after the draw, she heard that the big winner was in California from the Deli Mart where she always gets her tickets. “My heart started beating really fast!”
Mrs. Bibal waited a few months before claiming her jackpot because she wanted to be ready. She chose the cash option for her prize, which netted $340 million (before taxes). For now, her plans are to pay off her debt and to get a brand-new house with her Mega Millions fortune. When she was asked where she kept the ticket during these months, she said it was a secret. “I can’t tell you. The secret hiding place is still a secret!”
10. $516 Million – May 21, 2021
The draw of Friday, May 21st 2021 brought another top 10 Mega Millions jackpot. A jackpot worth an estimated annuity value of $516 million, or $349.3 million cash was won on a single ticket purchased in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The state joined the Mega Millions game in 2010 and this is the biggest jackpot won in Pennsylvania so far. Previously, there were two more Mega Millions jackpot winners on tickets purchased in Pennsylvania: a $149 million prize scooped in 2014 by a man from Pittsburgh and a $153 million jackpot won in 2015 by a Virginia truck driver whose route was passing through Pennsylvania.
The lucky winners came forward and claimed the prize. They are a group of 5 and dubbed themselves The Peace of Mind Trust. They decided to remain anonymous so as to be able to continue their lives as normal as possible. “Maintaining anonymity is key to ensuring that normalcy”, their lawyers said.
11. $451 Million – January 5, 2018
At the age of 20, Shane Missler became the sole winner of a huge Mega Millions jackpot worth $451 million! Missler, who couldn’t legally buy alcohol at the time of his win, had ‘a feeling’ that he might win when he bought his winning ticket using computer-generated Quick Pick numbers.
Missler chose to collect a one-time cash payment of $282 million. He plans to use his winnings to take care of family and donate to charity. Call it a sign of the times; Missler updated his status on Facebook to ‘Oh. My. God.’ when he found out he’d won.
12. $437 Million – January 1st, 2019
Mega Millions started out 2019 with a big bang. On its very first draw of the year, on January 1st, it gave out a huge jackpot worth $437 million. Almost two months later, the 23 winners of the prize came forward to collect it.
The New Life syndicate from Long Island are a group of 23 co-workers who play the lottery together on a weekly basis. January 1st was their lucky day because it made them millionaires.
They decided to stay away from the public eye, but even after their big win in the Mega Millions, they want to keep on working together. They said that they consider themselves to be part of a family and they want to keep it that way.
13. $431 Millions – September 21, 2021
A single ticket sold in the state of New York won this amazing jackpot in the draw of September 21, 2021 by matching all six winning numbers : the white balls 36, 41, 45, 51 and 56, plus the gold Mega Ball 13. The cash value of the win is of $314.4 million. This win stopped the rollover streak that has been going on since June 8, 2021, when a Mega Millions jackpot of $55 million was won by a ticket holder from Illinois.
This jackpot is New York’s second Mega Millions win this year, following a $96 million prize won by an Oneida County couple on February 16. This is also the biggest ever winner of a Mega Million’s jackpot in New York City. The ticket was purchased from a pizza shop in midtown Manhattan.
14. $426 Million – January 28, 2022
Another top Mega Millions jackpot is in the books! One lucky ticket-holder from California matched all winning numbers of the Mega Millions draw on January 28th. This brought the ticket owner to win a prize of $426 million ($292.9 million cash).
Since California’s law does not allow players to remain anonymous, we now know the winner’s name: Kristine Wellenstein. She purchased her lucky ticket at a Chevron station in Woodland Hills (Los Angeles county). Wellenstein chose the lump payment of $292.9 million and said she was going to “help the community and support local and global initiatives.”
15. $414 Million – March 18, 2014
The $414 million jackpot of March 18th, 2014 was split by Florida couple Raymond Moyer and Robyn Collier and another player from Maryland. Ms. Colliers and Mr. Moyer became the first Mega Millions jackpot winners in their state a year after Florida began offering the Mega Millions lottery. What a precedent!
Ms. Collier told the press about the moment when she found out about her win. She was watching the draw on TV and the numbers all looked familiar, so she paused it to run and get her ticket. “And when I realized they all matched, I jumped off the couch in excitement and told Raymond we had won.”
Both of them were in utter disbelief that they won such an enormous amount of money, but when they saw the store where they purchased the ticket on the news, it all started to sink in. They were actually the jackpot winners. “It was definitely a shock, but it is an incredible blessing that will allow us to do many things we would not have had the opportunity to do before.”
As for the Maryland winner, he chose to remain anonymous, but he did give some very good advice to lottery fans: “You have to play to win,” he said. “You have to play your lucky numbers.”
Bonus: $393 Million – August 11, 2017
Patricia Busking of Palos Heights, Illinois was the sole winner of this massive jackpot. She told the press that she actually doesn’t play the lottery that frequently. She said she used to put in a ticket when the jackpots get high.
At $393 million, the Mega Millions jackpot certainly got Mrs. Busking’s attention and she bought a ticket. “It’s amazing to think how lucky we were to be at the right place at the right time,” she said.
Mrs. Busking took home a lump sum payment of $247.3 million and she said she wants to share this amazing prize with her family and friends.
Aside from that, the Busking’s wanted to use some of the money to donate to charities. “We’re very excited to be able to donate to charities that are near and dear to our hearts,” she said during the press conference. “A few particular organisations have touched our lives, and it will be a pleasure to be able to give back so that they continue to touch the lives of others.”
Mega Millions Jackpot Winners FAQs
An anonymous player from South Carolina won the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever – $1.537 billion on October 23rd, 2018.
At this moment the biggest win on a single ticket coincides with the Mega Millions record – the $1.337 billion jackpot won in October 2018 by a lucky ticket holder from South Carolina.
The last jackpot to have made it into the top 10 Mega Millions biggest jackpots is the one won on May 21st, 2021 by a ticket holder from Pennsylvania, worth $516 million.