During Friday morning’s episode of Today, host Hoda Kotb urged Illinois residents to double check their old lottery tickets. That’s because one lucky person in the state is officially a Mega Millions winner and is now a billionaire after winning the $1.34 billion jackpot. However, as of Friday, they still haven’t claimed their huge winnings, according to an Illinois Lottery official.
At a Glance
- One lucky Mega Millions lottery winner in Illinois has won $1.34 billion, but hasn’t claimed the prize yet
- The winning ticket was bought at a gas station outside of Chicago and matched all six numbers announced on July 29
- The winner has 12 months to claim the grand prize
- If not claimed, each state will have their contribution to the jackpot returned
Officials have stated that it’s not uncommon for the winner to take some time to claim the prize. Yet officials are also spreading the word that the winning lotto ticket is out there and for everyone to check their tickets. That’s because on July 29, the Mega Millions winning numbers were announced. Since then, a winning ticket has been revealed, but no one has turned it in yet.
According to the Illinois Lottery‘s website, their results confirmed the winning ticket was purchased at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines. The town lies about 20 miles northwest of Chicago and one local resident may not realize they’re now a billionaire.
In fact, it’s the second largest jackpot in the 20-year history of the Mega Millions lottery. The winning ticket matches all six numbers selected on July 29. The winning ticket matched the five white balls with numbers 13, 36, 45, 47 and 67. Additionally, the ticket matched the final gold Mega Ball, which was 14.
Mega Millions Winner Has 12 Months to Claim Prize Before It’s Forfeited
The unknown Mega Millions winner is about to have their life changed forever. Yet they don’t have forever to claim their prize. By lottery rules, the winner has 12 months to turn in the winning ticket and receive the money. But they only have 60 days to select whether they prefer the cash option or annual payments. If they choose taking it all in one payment, the lottery will pay out an estimated $742.2 million of the $1.34 billion prize.
Recently, Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays shared a statement about the Mega Millions winner. He said it’s not uncommon for a lotto winner to wait a bit before claiming the prize. He also said they will work closely with the winner to respect wishes of privacy. In Illinois, the lottery allows winners of more than $125,000 to remain anonymous if they prefer.
“For a prize of this magnitude, it’s not unusual for the winner to take a while to claim. I’m sure they’re going through a range of emotions,” Mays said in the statement.
“We will work closely with the winner to respect any wishes for privacy and support them in any way we can to provide a positive winning experience,” Mays added.
If for some reason the grand prize isn’t claimed by the deadline, the money will be redistributed to each state. According to Mega Millions, the odds of winning the grand prize were 1 in 302,575,350. It’s the second largest payout ever behind 2016’s Powerball prize of $1.586 billion. Those winnings were split between multiple ticket holders.