30 Largest Lottery Jackpot Winnings in Mega Millions and Powerball History
The odds may be long, but it only takes lightning to strike once for a life-altering lotto win like the ones we've listed here. Plus, payouts for winners of Mega Millions and Powerball, the two major players in the multistate lotteries, have only gotten larger since each altered its formula to include more numbers.
These adjustments have made jackpots explode, with every one of the top 30 largest payouts coming in the past decade as of February 2022. Plus, some of the stories surrounding the winners are incredible. Life-changing money could change some, but in many ways, it’s gone to people who are willing to help one another.
So, who are these winners and how much did they win exactly? These are the 30 largest lottery jackpot winnings in U.S. history.
30. Jackpot: $426 Million
This is stunningly the first of eight — eight! — jackpots that come from California. An extremely lucky purchaser claimed the jackpot drawing at a Chevron gas station in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles in January 2022 and received an eye-popping single payment of $289.5 million.
Four others won more than $1 million thanks to the drawing netting four of the five winning numbers.
29. Jackpot: $429.6 Million
The Smith family in the Central New Jersey town of Lawrenceville told NBC News the eight Powerball numbers that netted their jackpot win came to them in a dream “through divine intervention.” Whatever the case, the family received more than $284 million in a lump-sum payout thanks to the winning ticket that was purchased at a 7-Eleven in nearby Trenton.
It was the largest single-ticket win in New Jersey at the time.
28. Jackpot: $431 Million
The Mega Millions drawing on Sept. 21, 2021, yielded an incomprehensible jackpot for the winner, who purchased the winning ticket on West 48th Street in New York City and received a $314.4 million lump-sum payment.
That night’s drawing also netted a $1 million winner who got four of the five numbers correct and in a row.
27. Jackpot: $435.3 Million
A Purdue University alum and engineer in Lafayette, Indiana, claimed $190 million in a lump-sum, post-tax payment after hitting five numbers and the Powerball.
The man, who has remained anonymous, purchased his winning ticket at the Super Test gas station in Lafayette and told reporters, through a lottery representative, that he intended to give money to his family to help pay for their education. Can we be related to him?
26. Jackpot: $437 Million
A 23-person group from Long Island, who wished to remain anonymous, split more than $262 million in winnings after claiming the winning ticket from a Mega Millions drawing on New Year's Day 2019.
The group came forward in February to claim the winning ticket, which was purchased in the Nassau County town of Brookville and received a post-tax payout of more than $171 million.
25. Jackpot: $447.8 Million
Jeff Lindsay purchased his victorious lottery ticket in the Riverside County town of Sun City, California. He initially purchased scratch-off tickets and used the winnings from those to purchase 10 Powerball tickets, of which one was a winner.
Lindsay came forward to claim his lump-sum prize of $279.1 million, despite wishing to keep he and his family removed from the limelight of winning nearly half-a-billion dollars, saying “We are obviously thrilled with this tremendous stroke of good luck and are still getting our arms around what it means for us.”
24. Jackpot: $448.4 Million
Perhaps the most heartwarming story you’ll see on this list came when two people and a group from New Jersey claimed the $250-plus million lump-sum price in 2013. The group was made up of 16 New Jersey residents who were affected by Superstorm Sandy — some lost homes and all were displaced when the Category 1 hurricane hit the Greater New York area in October 2012 — and they split more than $80 million.
A project engineer from Minnesota also claimed one-third of the jackpot, and a 70-year-old retiree, also from New Jersey, hit all six correct numbers to share the money.
23. Jackpot: $451 Million
Shane Missler of Port Richey, Florida, became the youngest single winner on this list when the 20-year-old claimed the jackpot after purchasing the winning ticket at a 7-Eleven in Pasco County.
He ultimately walked away with more than $281 million pre-tax in a lump-sum payment and promised to “take care of my family, have some fun along the way and cement a path to financial success, so I can leave a legacy far into the future,” according to a statement.
22. Jackpot: $456.7 Million
A group from Pennsylvania Dutch Country received some Luck of the Irish when they won nearly $270 million pre-tax on a St. Patrick’s Day Mega Millions drawing in 2018.
The winning ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station in the Lancaster County town of Manheim and was claimed by the Emerald Legacy Trust, which received the lump-sum payment that April.
21. Jackpot: $487 Million
A family in tiny Raymond, New Hampshire, claimed more than $256 million in a post-tax, lump-sum payout after purchasing the ticket in a Hannaford supermarket in July of that year.
The family received the payment through attorneys in September and immediately began donating some of the winnings to charities as well as the supermarket where they purchased the Powerball ticket.
20. Jackpot: $516 Million
This winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven store in the Bucks County town of Levittown, Pennsylvania, and five people, who referred to themselves only as “Peace of Mind,” claimed the more than $348 million lump-sum payment in May of that year.
It is still the largest lottery jackpot ever claimed in Pennsylvania.
19. Jackpot: $530 Million
An exceedingly lucky San Diego woman claimed more than $346 million in a lump-sum payout after correctly hitting all six numbers in the Mega Millions drawing in June 2019. Laarni Bibal waited until September to claim her massive payout mostly due to the fact she wasn’t sure how to proceed with her newly available funds.
She purchased the winning ticket at the Sorrento Deli Mart, just steps from PGA Tour-caliber golf club Torrey Pines, and said she was planning to use the money to pay off her debt and buy a new home.
18. Jackpot: $533 Million
Richard Wahl of Vernon, New Jersey, claimed a more than $324 million lump-sum payout in the largest single-ticket win in the state’s history on April 13, 2018. Wahl was so stunned to claim the jackpot that he told the Associated Press he had to check his winning ticket 15 times before believing he’d won.
Wahl, 47 at the time, told reporters at a news conference in the state capital of Trenton that he’d planned to retire from his job as a production manager at a foods services company.
17. Jackpot: $536 Million
A couple from Hamilton County, Indiana, claimed the enormous payout after forgetting they had purchased the Mega Millions tickets in July 2016.
The couple claimed a post-tax, lump-sum payment of $271 million through representatives and said via their representation that they intended to remain in the Hoosier State and “maintain a sense of normalcy,” according to ABC News.
16. Jackpot: $543 Million
An 11-member office pool from Santa Clara County in Northern California claimed the more than $320.5 million lump-sum payout. The group decided on a whim to purchase Mega Millions tickets from a liquor store in San Jose, beating the one-and-300-million odds to claim the largest single lottery jackpot payout in California history at the time.
Each member of the group chipped in $2 — talk about return on investment! — and the group’s age ranged from 21 to 60.
15. Jackpot: $559.7 Million
A woman from Concord, New Hampshire, claimed more than $264 million in a lump-sum, post-tax payout after she hit all six numbers in a Powerball drawing in July 2018. The woman, who purchased her ticket at the Reed’s Ferry Market in the city of Merrimack, initially signed her ticket but then opened a trust fund in an effort to keep her fortune a secret.
When she ultimately did receive her payout she instantly donated $250,000 to four area charities.
14. Jackpot: $564.1 Million
Three insanely lucky people claimed one-third of the more than $340 million lump-sum payout, and each had an incredible story to tell. A 26-year-old single mother of four from Shallotte, North Carolina, who supported her family working odd jobs, beat the odds and claimed more than $127 million as one of the three.
Another winner in Puerto Rico became the first person outside the continental United States to claim the Powerball jackpot. Finally, an Austin, Texas-based trust fund claimed the final $127-plus million payout on behalf of the winning ticket purchaser from the Dallas suburb of Princeton.
13. Jackpot: $587.5 Million
Matthew Good, 37 from the Phoenix suburb of Fountain Hills, Arizona, and Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Missouri, each received more than $100 million in post-tax, lump-sum payments after splitting the largest jackpot in Powerball history at the time in November 2012.
Good had purchased 10 tickets and kept them in the sun visor of his car before realizing he’d won. The Hills chose to invest in their hometown by building a new firehouse and town baseball field while also upgrading the town’s sewage system.
12. Jackpot: $590.5 Million
In 2013, Gloria MacKenzie, an 84-year-old retiree from outside of Tampa, claimed the second-largest jackpot in lottery history at the time and the largest Powerball drawing in a lump sum of more than $370 million.
She purchased the tickets at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida, for the May 8 drawing and became the largest sole benefactor in U.S. lottery history at the time, promising to help support her four children as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. MacKenzie sued her son, Scott, for mismanaging the money in 2019.
11. Jackpot: $632.6 Million
Tammy and Cliff Webster, a Wisconsin couple who live in the Oneida Nation Reservation in Brown County, received more than $225 million in a post-tax, lump-sum payment from the jackpot drawing on Jan. 6. They called the win “a dream come true” according to CBS News.
The Websters shared the jackpot with an unidentified second winner, who purchased the winning ticket at a 7-Eleven in the California capital of Sacramento.
10. Jackpot: $648 Million
Ira Curry, 56 of Stone Mountain, claimed half of the eye-popping jackpot and took home more than $120 million after taxes. Curry said she chose the winning numbers via a combination of birthdays and added the No. 7, which was lucky for her on the Dec. 17 drawing.
About two weeks after Curry claimed her prize, Steve Tran of Northern California stepped forward to accept his half of the fortune. Tran, who purchased his ticket in San Jose, reportedly told his boss after winning the jackpot, “I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow or ever.”
9. Jackpot: $656 Million
Merle Butler, from the tiny city of Red Bud, Illinois, was one of the three lucky people who split the monster Mega Millions jackpot from the March 30 drawing in 2012. An anonymous person from Kansas, who purchased the winning ticket at the Casey’s General Store in Ottawa outside of the capital of Topeka, also claimed more than $200 million in a pre-tax, lump-sum payment after hitting all six numbers.
Then, three coworkers in the Maryland school system, who purchased the winning ticket at a Baltimore 7-Eleven, each picked up about $34 million post-taxes in the other third of the record-setting drawing.
8. Jackpot: $687.8 Million
Lerynne West, a 51-year-old single mother of three daughters and grandmother to six from Redfield, Iowa, nearly lost her jackpot-winning ticket but luckily stumbled upon it in time to claim more than $340 million before taxes. She purchased the winning ticket at a Casey’s General Store and immediately set up a charitable foundation in her grandson’s name.
She split the jackpot with 67-year-old retired former federal employee Robert Bailey from New York, who purchased his winning ticket at the West Harlem Deli on Fifth Avenue in the Harlem section of Manhattan. He took home more than $125 million in winnings after taxes thanks to the Oct. 27 drawing.
7. Jackpot: $699.8 Million
Scott Godfrey purchased his winning ticket at an Albertsons grocery store in the coastal town of San Morro, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, for the Oct. 4 in 2021. Godfrey told KSBY that he hadn’t realized he had the winning ticket until a news report indicated that the grocery store had sold the winner.
He claimed a $496 million pre-tax, lump-sum payment and immediately set up a foundation where he’d use the money to do charitable works.
6. Jackpot: $731.1 Million
A group from Lonaconing, Maryland, picked up more than $366 million after taxes after one of its members purchased the winning ticket from the Coney Market in the tiny former mining town on the West Virginia border.
The group members said, through a statement as reported by WTOP, that they were planning to invest the money and use it to positively affect their communities, with no significant alterations to their lifestyle.
5. Jackpot: $758.7 Million
Mavis Wanczyk, 53 of Chicopee, Massachusetts, reportedly quit her job working at a Mercy Medical Center in Springfield right on the spot after discovering that she’d claimed more than $320 million after taxes thanks to her incredible fortune.
Wanczyk, who purchased the ticket at Pride Station & Store in her hometown, used a combination of family birthdays and her lucky No. 4 as the Powerball number for the Aug. 23 drawing in 2017.
4. Jackpot: $768.4 Million
Manuel Franco, 24, of West Allis, Wisconsin, claimed more than $326 million after taxes after purchasing the ticket at a Speedway gas station in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin.
Franco told reporters his dad “cried a lot” and said it “feels like a dream” during a news conference after his huge win. He also said he intended to “help out the world.”
3. Jackpot: $1.05 Billion
A four-person club of lottery players from the Detroit suburbs of Oakland County combined to take home more than $500 million post-taxes thanks to the Jan. 22 drawing in 2021.
The group split the second-largest payout of a single ticket in U.S. history after purchasing it at the Kroger’s grocery store in Novi, Michigan, and claimed to “stay humble and pay it forward through charitable giving in southeast Michigan,” according to CBS News.
2. Jackpot: $1.54 Billion
The largest single-ticket win in the country’s history went to a Summersville, South Carolina, woman who purchased the life-altering ticket on a drive through the Greenville section of her home state. The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, received more than $877 million and said “Words can’t describe the feeling of such incredible luck,” through an attorney.
She donated funds to a slew of charities in her home state and the Southeast, including Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Red Cross Alabama Region’s tornado relief fund.
1. Jackpot: $1.59 Billion
The largest lottery jackpot in the history of the world was split three ways between people in three different regions of the U.S. John and Lisa Robinson from the Memphis suburb of Munford, Tennessee, swiftly revealed themselves as one of the three exceedingly lucky winners of the Powerball drawing in January 2016 and took the huge lump-sum payment of more than $330 million.
A month later, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, a couple of Long Island transplants who had settled for 25-plus years in Melbourne, Florida, came forward to claim their third of the prize. Finally, Marvin and Mae Acosta, a couple from Chino Hills in Southern California's San Bernardino County, were the final benefactors who claimed the jackpot more than six months after their correct numbers were drawn.