Someone won the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot — here are the 5 biggest US lottery prizes ever

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The months-long wait for a new Mega Millions winner ended on Friday night with one winner of the lottery's massive $1.05 billion jackpot in Michigan.

The winner of the grand prize, which is the third-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, has yet to come forward. But, the winning ticket was purchased in a Kroger supermarket in Novi, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, the lottery announced in a press release. (Michigan is among the U.S. states that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, so it's possible the winner's identity will never become public.)

The huge jackpot came just a few days after someone won the Powerball grand prize after the jackpot climbed north of $731 million. That winner bought their ticket in Maryland, where lottery winners are also allowed to remain anonymous and they have not yet been identified.

The Mega Millions and Powerball lottery jackpots were climbing for months, building anticipation for a pair of drawings with grand prizes that are among the largest ever for the national lotteries. The Powerball prize had been the fifth-largest jackpot ever claimed in the U.S., but Friday's Mega Millions prize knocked it out of the top five.

The all-time record for a U.S. lottery drawing came in January 2016, when three winners split a prize of nearly $1.59 billion.

The odds of winning the top Powerball prize was roughly one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball, while the odds for Mega Millions' top prize were about one in 302.5 million.

Lottery winners choose between receiving their winnings in an annuity — with payments over 30 years — or the more popular option, a single lump sum payment in a smaller amount (that's the option Kevin O'Leary says you should choose). The lump sum payment for Wednesday's Powerball winner would be around $546 million, should the winner choose that option. The lump sum for the $1 billion Mega Millions prize is around $739 million.

Here is a look at the top lottery prizes ever won (so far).

1. $1.586 billion (Powerball)

This Powerball drawing from Jan. 13, 2016, for which three winning tickets were sold, remains history's biggest lottery prize.

The winners — John and Lisa Robinson in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California — split the full prize, giving them the option of roughly $533 million before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million as the lump-sum payment.

The Robinsons' winning ticket was one of four they bought at a grocery store, they told NBC's TODAY show. They opted to take the lump sum. "We're not guaranteed tomorrow," says John.

Florida-based Smith and Kaltschmidt also picked the lump sum. At the time they planned to get massages, upgrade their truck and retire with the newfound wealth, according to NBC.

The Acostas remained anonymous for months after winning, but released a statement saying they were thankful for the "rare gift that has been placed in our care."

2. $1.537 billion (Mega Millions)

The winner of last year's huge drawing took their time to come forward. The anonymous winner (South Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows lottery winners to claim their prize anonymously) finally claimed their winnings earlier this month, a little more than a month ahead of the April 19 deadline to come forward.

What we do know is that the winner chose the cash option for their prize, which resulted in a one-time payment of almost $878 million. While it's not the largest-ever jackpot, that number does represent the biggest payout to a single lottery winner in US history.

Based on the expected tax bill, the total haul from that jackpot will be about $491.7 million, after both federal and state taxes (a 7 percent income tax in South Carolina, plus the 37 percent federal rate), while other taxes may also apply.

3. $1.05 billion (Mega Millions)

One lucky person won the third-biggest U.S. lottery prize ever in Friday's Mega Millions drawing. Because the winning ticket was bought in Michigan, a state that allows winners to remain anonymous, nothing yet is known about America's newest multi-millionaire. The lottery's jackpot had been growing since September, when someone won a $120 million prize to reset the Mega Millions pot to $20 million.

4. $768.4 million (Powerball)

Manuel Franco bought his winning ticket in New Berlin, Wisconsin, a small city located in the suburbs of Milwaukee. When he came forward to claim his prize in April 2019, Franco told reporters that he bought the winning ticket at a time when he had less than $1,000 in his bank account.

Franco chose the lump sum payment option for his jackpot prize, which equaled $477 million. Wisconsin lottery officials said at the time that he would likely take home about $326 million after paying state and federal taxes.

5. $758.7 million (Powerball)

Mavis L. Wanczyk was announced as the winner of the $758.7 Million Powerball Jackpot in August of 2017. 
Boston Globe | Getty Images

Mavis L. Wanczyk of Chicopee, Massachusetts, claimed the winning ticket for the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot in August of 2017, taking $480.5 million before taxes as the lump sum payment. One of the first things Wanczyk did after winning was to tell her employer, Mercy Medical Center, that she was quitting after working there for 32 years.

"I've called them and told them I will not be coming back," she told NBC.

This is an updated version of a previously published article.

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This is what you do if you win the lottery
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