The chances of winning the lottery sit somewhere between extremely unlikely and basically impossible. You’re more likely to be hit by falling airplane parts, have identical quadruplets for children, or get elected President of The United States.
Your primary retirement plan shouldn't be winning the lottery (let alone the biggest lottery prize).
On the other hand, someone has to win the lottery, right? If everyone lost, then no one would play. Technically, there are lots of people who win the lottery each year.
Each Powerball and Mega Millions lottery drawing features nine different winning combinations. However, only a select few will hit the jackpot by matching all six numbers.
The list of jackpot winners is a small group that only adds a few members each year. In most cases, the winners are publicly named as per the official guidelines of their state.
A few states allow winners to remain anonymous, but information regarding the ticket is released. Here is a list of the largest lottery jackpots ever won as of this writing:
1. $2.04 Billion
- November 8, 2022
- One ticket in California
The world’s first $2 billion lottery-winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California. The Mobil gas station is located at the corner of Woodbury Road and Fair Oaks Avenue.
As of this writing, the California lottery winner hasn’t come forward to claim the largest lottery prize in U.S. history. However, the store owner won a $1 million reward for selling the winning ticket.
2. $1.586 Billion
- January 13, 2016
- Three tickets in Tennessee, California, and Florida
Although three tickets won, John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, are the face of this jackpot as they make a public appearance on The Today Show. The other winners didn’t follow their lead as they remained anonymous.
The Tennessee couple opted for the lump sum and walked away with roughly $327 million. It’s unknown how much the other parties ended up winning.
3. $1.537 Billion
- Mega Millions
- October 23, 2018
- One ticket in South Carolina
The $1.537 billion jackpot set a new record for the most significant win on a single ticket and remains the record for the largest Mega Millions jackpot. Little is known about the winner as she elected to remain anonymous.
However, the ticket was purchased at a gas station in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and the winner chose the lump sum payment. Officials announced the total amount was $877,784,124.
4. $1.337 Billion
- Mega Millions
- July 29, 2022
- One ticket in Illinois
The winning ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois, just outside Chicago. It took a little while before the winner came forward, and there were some concerns about what to do if no one claimed the prize in time.
Eventually, two men came forward to claim it as they had previously agreed to split any winnings. Each man ended with a pre-tax lump sum payment of $780.5 million.
5. $1.05 Billion
- Mega Millions
- January 22, 2021
- One ticket in Michigan
A lottery club in the Detroit suburb of Oakland County, Michigan, claimed the top prize for this drawing. After taxes, the total lump sum prize was roughly $557 million. The group of four split the prize evenly, so each individual walked away with just under $140 million.
6. $768.4 Million
- March 27, 2019
- One ticket in Wisconsin
Manuel Franco became one of the youngest lottery winners in history when he became a millionaire at age 24. The jackpot set a then-record for the most significant single Powerball win in history. The winning ticket was purchased at a Speedway in New Berlin, about 15 miles outside Milwaukee.
7. $758.7 Million
- August 23, 2017
- One ticket in Massachusetts
Mavis Wanczyk, a hospital worker living in Chicopee, Massachusetts, used birthdays to select some of the numbers of her winning ticket. She decided to take a lump sum payment of $480, which was reduced to $336 million after taxes. At the time, it was the largest undivided jackpot in lottery history.
8. $731.1 Million
- January 20, 2021
- One ticket in Maryland
A single ticket purchased in a mining town in Allegany County won the jackpot of this Powerball drawing. The prize would be claimed by a group of anonymous Marylanders who dubbed themselves “The Power Pack.”
The group decided to take the lump sum payment of $546.8 million. The group walked with roughly $366.6 million after state and federal taxes were deducted.
9. $699.8 Million
- October 4, 2021
- One ticket in California
Scott Godfrey of Morro Bay, California, set a new record as California’s largest-ever Powerball winner.
While the record stood for less than a year, getting shattered when the largest jackpot in the world’s history was claimed in California, it seems unlikely that Godfrey was too bothered by his broken record.
10. $687.8 Million
- October 27, 2018
- Two tickets in Iowa and New York
Lerynne West, a grandmother, bought one of the winning tickets at Casey’s General Store in Redfield, Iowa. West elected for the lump sum pre-tax payment of $198.1 million. The other winner, Robert Bailey of Manhattan, played the same numbers for 25 years.
While they took some time to hit, the jackpot was the third largest in Powerball history. Bailey would also select the lump sum option and walk away with $125,396,690.
11. $656 Million
- Mega Millions
- March 30, 2012
- Three tickets in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland
A total of three tickets matched the winning numbers for what was once the highest jackpot in history. Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois, purchased one ticket.
The retired couple was joined by two winners who preferred to stay anonymous, so less is known about them. We know the winner in Kansas elected to take the pre-tax lump sum of $157 million, and the Maryland winner purchased their ticket at 7-11 in Milford Mill, just outside of Baltimore.
12. $648 Million
- Mega Millions
- December 17, 2013
- Two tickets in California and Georgia
Ira Curry, a 56-year-old woman living in Stone Mountain, Georgia, was the first winner to come forward. It took a little while before the second winner claimed their share of the prize.
Steven Tran, a man living in northern California, had gone on Christmas vacation without checking his winning ticket. The two would split what was then the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot in history.
13. $590.5 Million
- May 18, 2013
- One ticket in Florida
Gloria Mackenzie became the oldest winner in Powerball history when she hit the jackpot at age 84. At the time, the pot was the biggest ever for a Powerball drawing.
Luckily for Mackenzie, her home state of Florida doesn’t have a state income tax. As a result, she ended up with a total amount of about $278 million.
14. $587 Million
- November 28, 2012
- Two tickets in Arizona and Missouri
Mark and Cindy Hill of Missouri and Matthew Good of Arizona equally split what was once the second-largest Powerball jackpot in history. Both parties took home a pre-tax lump sum payment of $192 million.
15. $564 Million
- February 11, 2015
- Three tickets in North Carolina, Texas, and Puerto Rico
Marie Holmes of North Carolina split the prize with two other Texas and Puerto Rico winners. The ticket sold in Puerto Rico was the first Powerball winner to be sold outside the contentious United States. At the time, the jackpot was the fifth largest in history.
Can You Improve Your Odds of Hitting the Jackpot?
Unfortunately, it’s a guarantee that your name won’t be joining the list above.
However, you don’t have to abandon all hope just yet. There are a few things that you can do to improve your odds of winning. These actions won’t make a difference in the long run, but the list above proves that anyone can hit the jackpot.
Buying more tickets is the first thing that comes to mind. The more tickets you own, the more likely your numbers will come up.
But that’s not the only thing that you can do. Joining a lottery pool and playing games with better odds are two other ways to improve your chances. It will all boil down to one simple thing: luck.
Try Your Luck on a Different Type of Lottery
The unbelievable jackpots featured via Powerball and Mega Millions explain why so many people buy tickets.
However, what good is a jackpot that you’ll likely never win? It costs at least $2 for each play and an additional $1 if you decide to boost your ticket. It’s a much brighter idea to play a lottery that doesn’t leave you broke.
You may think such a thing is too good to be true; however, that’s what Yotta offers. The Yotta daily drawings give you a chance to win the $1 million jackpot for free.
It’s straightforward: you’ll get one ticket for each $25 in your account. Depending on how many numbers match on each ticket, you can win an assortment of cash prizes that includes the million-dollar jackpot.
Even if you don’t match any numbers, the balance in your account will stay the same. You’ll have the same amount of tickets for tomorrow’s drawing unless you decide to deposit or withdraw some funds.
It will still be unlikely that you match all six numbers, but it doesn’t cost a dime to play. You literally can’t lose by joining Yotta. Create your Yotta account today so that you can join tomorrow’s drawing.