The Biggest Jackpot Awarded by Every State Lottery
Jackpot: $245 million
On Nov. 2, 2011, a trio of wealth advisers from Greenwich took a jackpot that was worth more than their firm had in managed assets ($82 million), and many were suspicious that the true winner was hiding behind their name. So how do wealth advisers take their winnings? In a lump sum of $103.6 million placed directly into a trust.
Jackpot: $393 million
On Aug. 11, 2017, a Mega Millions ticket with an all-cash option of $247 million sold in Palos Heights, though the real mission that day was picking up a couple of steak sandwiches. A local retiree claimed the prize and took the lump-sum payment. While an Illinois winner got a share of a larger $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2012, it brought only a $157 million lump-sum share.
Jackpot: $656 million
An anonymous winner took a third of a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot worth $218.6 million on March 30, 2012, or $157 million in cash. But the more entertaining story is Kansas man Donald Damon, who won a $96.9 million Powerball prize on Nov. 11, 2009, after being forced to retire from truck driving when his family was already struggling. It added up to $33.8 million after taxes.
Jackpot: $191.1 million
The winning numbers were pulled Oct. 25, 2017, but it took nearly two months for someone to come forward and claim it. That person was an attorney representing the "292 Family Partnership" that chose to keep its members anonymous. The group opted for a lump-sum payment worth $119.5 million.
Jackpot: $16.4 million
Maine has never had a full jackpot winner. It's had folks win $2 million or $3 million here or there, but since joining Powerball in 2004 and Mega Millions in 2010, it's remained with North Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, and the Virgin Islands in never hosting a winner. In fact, former Maine residents and retirees have had far better luck winning in Florida. The last big win in Maine came when half of a $16.4 million Tri-State Megabucks win went to a couple in Biddeford in 1992.
Jackpot: $656 million
Maryland has had a piece of three of the Top 35 lottery jackpots in U.S. history, but has never had one all to itself. On March 30, 2012, three Maryland public schools coworkers — mainly working multiple jobs to make ends meet — split this $656 million Mega Millions jackpot with winners from Kansas and Illinois. It netted each of those coworkers a lump sum of roughly $35 million.
Jackpot: $337 million
On Aug. 15, 2012, a man who walked into a gas station and picked numbers himself ended up winning a Powerball drawing that earned him a $224.6 million lump sum. He wasn't happy about it. "It's not a lot, $337 million," Donald Lawson told reporters. "You all think it's tremendous amount, but I'm kind of pissed at Uncle Sam ... you know?"
Jackpot: $228.9 million
Now, Minnesota lottery winners have been part of bigger jackpots. A winner from Minnesota won a share of a $448.4 million Powerball pot in 2013, but had to split it with two other winners from New Jersey. On Aug. 10, 2011, however, a couple from Burnsville took this prize all by themselves and was eligible for a $123.6 million lump sum larger than the $86 million share of that bigger 2013 jackpot. They bought the tickets to help out a shop where business was down because of construction.
Jackpot: $587.5 million
On Nov. 28, 2012, a Missouri couple split this prize with winners from Arizona. Even the roughly $294 million half-share eclipses any Missouri lottery win that came before it. The couple opted for a lump-sum payment of $192 million before taxes. At first it wasn't clear they had a win: The buyer didn't have her glasses and wasn't sure she was seeing the numbers right.
Jackpot: $97 million
Not only does Montana not regularly strike it rich with the lottery (Powerball notes that only four winners have come from the Big Sky state), but it had to share its largest jackpot — drawn back on June 24, 2010 — with winners from Ohio. And they had to tape their tickets back together, too. They looked at the wrong numbers at first and tore them up.
There's plenty of legal gambling in Nevada, and it doesn't want competition from a state lottery. As the casinos point out, they tend to pay property taxes and provide jobs. While the lottery's ability to do the latter is debatable, the lottery's future in Nevada isn't as long as the state continues to lean heavily on casino gaming and room-tax revenue.
Jackpot: $559 million
When a woman known only as Jane Doe won more than a half-billion dollars in a Powerball drawing Jan. 6, 2018, she took a $352 million lump-sum payment. She also went to court to retain her right to anonymity. A judge sided with her, and she's since made several anonymous donations to New Hampshire charities.
Jackpot: $533 million
Winners from New Jersey have laid claim to seven of the top 35 U.S. lottery jackpots of all time. That means one out of every five big jackpots lands in the Garden State. The biggest, however, came March 30, 2018, when a guy who'd only played the lottery twice won a Mega Millions jackpot that boiled down to a $324.6 million lump sum. After federal and state taxes, it amounted to $220.7 million.
Jackpot: $564.1 million
Granted, a winner in this state took only a third of the Powerball jackpot that was up for grabs Feb. 11, 2015, but her $188 million share would have been the largest jackpot in North Carolina history on its own. Even if taken as a lump-sum payment, that share still amounts to more than $127 million — helpful to a single mom with four children ages 9 months to 7 years.
Jackpot: $3 million
Huge lottery windfalls are still rare in this big fracking state, where Powerball has yet to record a jackpot winner — and this Mega Millions win would be a rounding error for some of that promotion's biggest prizes. Still, people have no problem leaving $400,000 in lottery winnings on the table here.
Jackpot: $270 million
In Ohio, you can claim lottery winnings anonymously if you set up a trust. In this case, a Toledo lawyer Mark Mockensturm claimed a Mega Millions jackpot from Feb. 28, 2006, as trustee for the M&H Blind Trust. His clients chose a lump-sum payment, which came out to $113.5 million after taxes.
Jackpot: $340 million
A family in Southern Oregon pooled its resources to play $40 worth of tickets for an Oct. 19, 2005, Powerball drawing that, at the time, was the largest in history. Their gamble brought them a lump-sum payment of $164 million that works out to roughly $110 million after taxes.
Jackpot: $456.7 million
Pennsylvania considers a lottery winner's name to be public information, but it didn't count on the winner of the biggest prize in state history being savvy enough to establish a trust. The winner of the March 17, 2018, Powerball drawing, Emerald Legacy Trust, opted for a $274 million lump-sum payment worth $199.8 million.
Jackpot: $336.4 million
An 81-year-old woman laid claim to a Powerball payout worth $210 million before taxes after winning a drawing on Feb. 11, 2012. State and federal taxes reduced that sum to just over $140 million. She bought the ticket while enjoying some rainbow sherbet, and named her trust after that dessert.
Jackpot: $399.4 million
The winner of this nearly $400 million Powerball drawing on Sept. 18, 2013, discovered that South Carolina allows its lottery winners to remain anonymous when claiming their winnings. As a result, he also didn't have to reveal whether he'd take the annual payments or the roughly $223.3 million lump-sum payment.
Jackpot: $16.4 million
There's been no significant winner from Vermont for Mega Millions or Powerball. Despite running a lottery subscription service that occasionally rewards players with upward of $5 million in a lottery it shares with Maine and New Hampshire, the biggest win in Vermont history still dates back to 1992.
Jackpot: $239 million
Way back on Feb. 20, 2004, J.R. and Peggy Triplett of Winchester won this Mega Millions drawing and opted for the cash option of $141.5 million, with the husband calling it "no big thing" and the wife saying she'd "shop till I drop." There's been only one bigger jackpot in Virginia since, but that $330 million Mega Millions win in 2007 was split among players in four states and gave Virginia winners only about $82.5 million for their trouble.
Jackpot: $314.9 million
We'd like to tell you that Dec. 25, 2002, was a great one for Jack Whittaker. His share of this $170.5 million Powerball win was roughly $113.4 million after taxes. But the less said about the sometimes fatal misfortunes that followed Whittaker and his family after that win, the better. The fire that destroyed his uninsured home wasn't even the worst of it.
Jackpot: $208.6 million
There was only one winning ticket for the Aug. 5, 2006, Powerball drawing, but 100 cheese factory workers owned it. Those who opted for a lump-sum payment got between $660,000 and $670,000 apiece after taxes. If they took the annual payment, they got between $37,000 and $110,000 a year.
Jackpot: $1.8 million
Wyoming has fewer residents than some large U.S. cities, so it isn't surprising that it hasn't produced a Mega Millions or Powerball winner yet. Its local Cowboy Draw gave away its biggest prize back in February 2016, though, and continues to give away prizes in the low seven figures.
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