Winning the lottery is everyone's dream. But then, the odds of winning are always slim, regardless of which lotto is played. However, there have been some lucky players whose fortunes changed overnight after winning the jackpots of two of the biggest lotteries: Mega Millions and Powerball. In this round-up, find out the seven biggest lottery jackpot winners of all time.
From 2016, Powerball has held the record for the biggest lottery prize ever after three players shared a whopping $1.586 billion. This was the first time the lotto's prize money surpassed the $1 billion mark.
The first winners, a couple from Tennessee, decided to go for a lump sum amounting to $327.8 million. The second winner, a couple from Florida, also went for the lump sum of $327.8 million. Six months later, the third winners came out and said they wished to donate most of their money.
At number two in this list of the biggest lottery winners of all time is a single player who bought their ticket in South Carolina in 2018. The calculated lump sum prize money was $878 million. Nobody knows who won this Mega Millions jackpot, but one thing is for sure; they remain the biggest single lotto winner as the $1.586 billion in 2016's Powerball was shared among three players.
In January 2021, history was made again by a lottery pool from Michigan dubbed The Wolverine FLL Club. This was the second time the lottery's jackpot surpassed the $1 billion mark. The Wolverines settled on a lump sum and walked away with a cool $557 million after all tax deductions. This remains the third-largest lottery win in the history of the United States lottery.
The fourth-biggest lottery prize in the US was claimed by Manuel Franco, who scooped the $768.4m Powerball jackpot in 2019. At only 24, the Wisconsin citizen remains the biggest Powerball lottery winner of all time. Franco is also among the youngest winners of Powerball. He bought his winning ticket at a Speedway in New Berlin.
Another lucky lottery player is Mavis Wanczyk, then a 53-year-old from Chicopee, Massachusetts. She is Powerball's third-biggest jackpot winner. When she won the jackpot back in 2017, her prize was the most significant single win in the lottery jackpot's history.
Interestingly, after she confirmed her win, she called her employer to say she was no longer going to work. Wanczyk took home $480.5 million after deductions. At least she had won good money, unlike the Spanish reporter who quit live on air only to realize she had won a meager $5,500.
In January 2021, the first jackpot win of the year was registered. This time, a single ticket from Maryland won the $731.1m Powerball lottery. This was the first time both Mega Millions and Powerball's jackpots were simultaneously more than $700 million. The jackpot has earned a place in Powerball's largest jackpot Hall of Fame and is among the most talked-about jackpots on lotto sites and pundits in lottery discussions.
In 2018, Powerball made history again when two tickets purchased in Iowa and New York won the $687.8m Powerball jackpot. This jackpot win came just days after a ticket sold in South Carolina scooped the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot.
The above are the seven biggest lottery jackpot wins in history. Other worthy mentions include $685 million (Powerball), $656 million (Mega Millions), $648 million (Mega Millions), $590.5 million (Powerball), $587.5 million (Powerball), $564 million (Powerball), $559.7 million (Powerball), and $543 million (Mega Millions).