Biggest Lottery Wins Ever Recorded in the US

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Biggest Lottery Wins. Image Credit: Shutterstock

We all play the lottery with the intention to win the grand prize, but few can brag about scoring the biggest lottery wins ever.

While for most of us, the only way to increase our wealth is through a laborious process of investing, some are lucky enough to have become overnight multimillionaires by buying a single lottery ticket and winning the jackpot.  For as little as CA$2, a very selected group of players were lucky enough to snatch some of the biggest lottery wins.

So, just how large have the biggest lottery wins in history been?  Here are some of the most substantial amounts won in lotteries in the US:

US$564 Million (Powerball)

On 11 February 2015, the US$564 million Powerball jackpot was won by three players – an anonymous player from Puerto Rico, a trust fund from Texas, and Marie Holmes from North Carolina.

US$587 Million (Powerball)

In November 2012, Cindy and Mark Hill received a winning cheque when they held one of the two winning tickets for the Powerball lottery.  The total jackpot was shared with Matthew Good from Arizona.

US$590 Million (Powerball)

Gloria Mackenzie from Florida won a US$590 million Powerball jackpot in May 2013.  At the time, it was the most significant sum ever to have been won through a single ticket.  Mackenzie took the lump sum payment option, receiving US$370 million before taxes. 

US$648 Million (Mega Millions)

The Mega Millions lottery draw in December 2013 was won by Ira Curry from Georgia and Steve Tran from California, each taking home a lump sum of US$173 million.  Curry purchased her ticket at the last minute and used the number seven, her lucky number, together with the birthdates of family members.  Another beneficiary of the lucky win was Jennifer’s Gift Shop, which received US$1 million for being the outlet where Tran bought his winning ticket.

US$656 Million (Mega Millions)

In March 2012, Patricia and Merle Butler, two anonymous players from Kansas, and a group of school employees going under a pseudonym of  The Three Amigos, scooped the Mega Millions jackpot, which stood at US$656 million.  In the end, each player claimed US$218.6 million in winnings.

US$1,586 Million (Powerball)

The Powerball lottery draw on 13 January 2016 holds the title of being the biggest prize in US history, even though the total jackpot of US$1,586 million was split between three winners.  John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee, Marvin and Mae Acosta from California, and Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Florida were each given the choice of taking US$327 million as a lump sum, or around US$533 million before tax, in instalments.

US$758 Million (Powerball)

The biggest single-ticket lottery win to date went to a lucky hospital employee, Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts, in August 2016.  After scooping the biggest single-ticket prize in the entire history of the US lottery, Wanczyk called her work and let them know she would be resigning with immediate effect.

Wanczyk was asked to choose between a lump sum of US$336 million after tax or gradual payments spread over decades.  In the end, she opted for a one-off payment.  And, with a stroke of a pen, her net worth shot up to more than the GDP value of some of the world’s smaller nations!

Having bought five tickets from the Pride Market in Chicopee, the winning ticket was the one that used the birthdates of her family members as its combination.  To date, Wanczyk’s win is the biggest one ever won with a single ticket and is the second biggest prize to be won in the US lottery, with only the abovementioned January 2016 US$1,5 billion Powerball prize ahead of it.

Winning the lottery is a sure way to catapult yourself into the world of the fortunate few.  Although the odds are often stacked against you, the determination has bettered the winning chances and paid off in the end for a lucky few.  So, now that we’ve whet your appetite for an enormous cash prize, it’s your turn to buy a ticket and stand a chance to win one of the biggest lottery wins ever.

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