Mega Millions: Illinois Resident Wins $1.28B Jackpot

by Caitlin Berard

Earlier this week, a patron stepped into the Speedy Cafe Speedway gas station on East Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines, Illinois. And with the Mega Millions jackpot at the third largest amount in U.S. lottery history, why not purchase a ticket?

They took their lottery ticket home and awaited the winning numbers: 13, 36, 45, 57, and 67. The mega millions ball was 14 and the Megaplier was 2X. To their astonishment, the winning numbers were an exact match to those on the ticket in their hands.

The ticket purchased by the unbelievably lucky Illinoisan was worth $1.28 billion, which they have the option of receiving in full or in installments over the course of 29 years. The majority of lottery winners choose the lump sum. Should this winner do the same, they’ll receive a $747.2 million prize, which amounts to $457.5 million after taxes.

Across the country, another lottery hopeful walked into the New Way Deli & Lottery on East Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx and purchased their own ticket. When the numbers were announced, they were shocked to learn that they earned the second place prize of $1,000,002!

How the Mega Millions Jackpot Reached $1.28 Billion

The largest jackpot in the game’s history was won in 2018 when a ticket sold in South Carolina earned the player an astounding $1.537 billion. The current jackpot stands only behind this instance and the $1.586 billion Powerball drawing of 2016.

So, how did the lottery get so high? Well, no one has drawn the winning six numbers since April 15. This means there were 29 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands. One in eight American adults plays the lottery at least once a week. And an even larger portion (almost half) buys a ticket at least once a year.

This makes the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot 1 in 302.5 million, while those of winning a prize, in general, are 1 in 24, according to Mega Millions. The next jackpot is set at $20 million.

For those who play the lottery, don’t worry – lottery winners becoming bankrupt and miserable is just a myth. Though becoming a millionaire overnight does take some getting used to, winning the lottery can be an amazing experience, as Tim Schultz, winner of $28 million back in 1999, can attest.

“Initially, it was extremely exhilarating,” Schultz explained to Fox News. “But once that wears off – and it does – you are still yourself. The lottery doesn’t change who you are, but it does magnify your personality and your ability to do what you want to do.”

“I learned that the lottery can buy you time [with others],” he continued. “And that’s invaluable. Winning can be a very, very positive thing.”