Ironically enough, a Mega Millions ticket holder in Maine claimed the lottery’s second-largest prize in history, a hefty $1.35 billion, on Friday, January 13th. The long-anticipated win comes after three months without a single jackpot winner. Today, almost a week following the Friday the 13th drawing, the Maine winner still remains a mystery.
According to The Wallstreet Journal, last Friday’s win is especially significant for two reasons. First, not only does the $1.35 billion ticket holder hold the second-largest jackpot score in Mega Millions history; they actually hold the fourth-biggest haul in U.S. history.
Additionally, the Friday winner, whoever they might be, represents Maine’s very first Mega Millions jackpot win. The winning numbers were 30, 43, 45, 46, 61, and the gold Mega Ball numbered 14. Regardless of whoever actually won the lottery’s jackpot last week, they had a very slim chance of doing so. Statistics state the lucky ticketholder had a minuscule 1 in 302.6 million chance of drawing the winning numbers.
While we wait to see whether or not the Mega Millions jackpot winner reveals their identity, Maine State Lottery earned some recognition of its own.
Pat McDonald, Ohio Lottery Director and lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium, shared a congratulatory statement on Saturday. McDonald said, “Congratulations to the Maine State Lottery, which has just won its first-ever Mega Millions jackpot.”
$1 Billion Jackpot Winners New Phenomenon for U.S. Lottery
Per the news outlet, $1 billion+ jackpot winners are actually a new phenomenon within the U.S. lottery. Their report states these massive hauls have only recently begun making history after lottery officials made their games harder to win by increasing the quantity of numbers players must choose for each drawing. The games were further complicated as officials expanded each, including both Powerball and Mega Millions, to more states. Both lottery games made their debut in the 1990s.
Aside from making the game harder, officials in charge of the lotteries’ management previously shared they hoped skyrocketing jackpots, like those claimed Friday, would help draw more media attention and, by extension, encourage more people to purchase tickets, further growing the prize pool.
Since making their debut, the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have only topped $1 billion a combined six times.
Last Friday’s drawing saw a number of smaller winners step forward as well, with 14 ticketholders across the U.S. taking home $1 million prizes. Though much more modest than the Friday the 13th jackpot, it suffices to say these ticketholders weren’t complaining about their lucky numbers. Of the 14 tickets, four matched in New York, two in California, and then one each in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
More than 160 Mega Millions players took home other small prizes, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.