$1.08 billion Powerball jackpot is one of the largest in history—here are the top 5 so far

Joes Service Center, a Mobil gas station at Woodbury Road and Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena that sold the $2.04 billion-winning Powerball ticket on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Medianews Group/los Angeles Daily News Via Getty Images

Another billion-dollar lottery jackpot has one lucky winner after a single winning ticket was purchased for Wednesday's $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot.

The identity of the winner remains unknown, but the lucky ticket was purchased at Las Palmitas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles, according to the California State Lottery.

It's actually the second time a single billion-dollar jackpot winner was sold in Los Angeles County in less than a year. In November 2022, the all-time record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot sold a single winning ticket at a gas station in Altadena, California, just north of Los Angeles.

Wednesday's prize marked the seventh time since 2016 that a lottery jackpot has crossed the billion-dollar threshold. And, while it's not a bad haul for the investment in a $2 Powerball ticket, the latest jackpot doesn't quite crack the five-largest U.S. lottery prizes ever, coming in as the sixth-largest ever.

The prize had been growing for three months. The odds of winning it were roughly one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.

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 "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary says you should choose.) The pretax lump sum payment for Wednesday's winner would be $558.1 million.

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Lottery players who didn't win Wednesday's jackpot can also take solace in the fact that Mega Millions' jackpot continues climbing and has reached $720 million for the next drawing, which takes place Friday night.

Here's a look at the top lottery prizes ever won so far.

1. $2.04 billion (Powerball)

A single winning ticket for the record Powerball drawing was sold at a gas station and convenience store called Joe's Service Center in Altadena, California, a community located north of Los Angeles. While the business' owner received a $1 million bonus from Powerball for selling the winning ticket, the identity of the ticket's owner remains unknown.

California is not one of the U.S. states where lottery winners have the option of remaining anonymous, so the jackpot winner will eventually have to come forward and claim their winnings publicly. They'll have up to a year from the date of the winning draw to claim the prize, according to the rules of the California Lottery.

When they do come forward, they'll have to choose between the annuity option or the nearly $1 billion lump sum payment — which would likely result in a total tax bill of $369.1 million, based on the top federal tax rate of 37%.

If the prize was taxed as income in California, the winner would be facing an additional state tax bill of more than $120 million. But California, along with Delaware, is one of just two states that don't tax lottery winnings like regular personal income — marking another stroke of luck for the winner.

2. $1.59 billion (Powerball)

This Powerball drawing from Jan. 13, 2016, for which three winning tickets were sold, held the record as history's biggest lottery prize for more than six years, until this week's Powerball drawing dropped it down a spot.

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."

3. $1.54 billion (Mega Millions)

The winner of this huge drawing in October 2018 also took their time to surface.

South Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows lottery winners to claim their prize anonymously. The ticket-holder — who never did make themselves known — finally claimed their winnings in March of the following year, just a little more than a month ahead of the deadline to come forward or risk forfeiting the prize.

The South Carolina Education Lottery Commission did reveal that the winner chose the cash option for their prize, taking a one-time payment of roughly $878 million. It's not a record jackpot, but that number still represents the biggest payout to a single lottery winner in U.S. history — at least for now.

Based on the expected tax bill, the total haul from that jackpot was likely somewhere around $491.7 million, after both federal and state taxes — a 7 percent income tax in South Carolina, plus the 37 percent federal rate. Other taxes may have also applied.

4. $1.35 billion (Mega Millions)

The first billion-dollar drawing of 2023 also resulted in a single winner, after one lucky person purchased a winning ticket at a gas station in Lebanon, Maine in January. The winner even avoided any potential bad luck associated with the fact that the Mega Millions drawing was held on Friday the 13th of that month. While Maine is not a state that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, this jackpot's winner did their best to stay unknown by claiming the winning ticket through a limited liability company called LaKoma Island Investments.

The winner reportedly chose a lump sum cash option of roughly $723.5 million, which when reduced by the mandatory 24% federal withholding would have been reduced to nearly $550 million.

5. $1.34 billion (Mega Millions)

The first billion-dollar jackpot of 2022 topped $1.3 billion before it found a winner in July.

The winning player, or players, bought the lucky ticket at Speedway convenience store in Des Plaines, Illinois — and opted to take the lump sum payment option of more than $780 million, according to Mega Millions.

Illinois allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, and whoever won this huge prize has chosen to remain unknown to the public.

Want to earn more and work less? Register for the free CNBC Make It: Your Money virtual event on Dec. 13 at 12 p.m. ET to learn from money masters like Kevin O'Leary how you can increase your earning power.

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