Biggest Lottery Jackpots In U.S. History

A drawing for the Texas Lottery, being conducted at the lottery's television studio in Austin.
A drawing for the Texas Lottery, being conducted at the lottery's television studio in Austin.

For as little as $2 ordinary American citizens have been turned to multi-millionaires by buying lottery tickets at simplistic convenient stores. The winners have also turned out to be minor community celebrities, while also opting to engage in charity.

10. $414 million, MegaMillions (March 18th, 2014)

On March 18, 2014, two winners shared equally the Mega Millions $414 million jackpot. Then bankrupt Robyn Ann Collier from Florida bought the ticket at a gas station on Meritt Island in March 2014. The gas station retailer received $100,000 for selling the winning ticket. The money was deposited in the Cobie and Seamus Trust. Robyn and her boyfriend Raymond Moyer were part of this trust. The other winner was an anonymous person from Maryland who had bought the ticket at Lady’s Liquor in La Plata town in Charles County. Lady’s liquor also got $100,000 for selling the winning ticket. Two years before her winning, Robyn had less than $5 in April 2012 and filed for bankruptcy. The winning numbers were 11, 19, 24, 33, and 51 with Mega ball number 7.

9. $425 million, Powerball (February 19th, 2014)

B. Raymond Buxton from Northern California alone won the $425 million Powerball jackpot on February 19, 2014. Buxton had purchased the winning Powerball ticket that February for $2 at the Dixon Landing, Chevron station in Milpitas City, near San Jose. The station got $1 million for selling it. Buxton opted to claim his winnings on April 1, 2014, the fool’s day. He had in the meantime been working with an attorney and financial adviser to set up new bank accounts, a charity, and sort tax issues. By opting to receive the money in lumpsum, Buxton got about $242 million before tax. During the presentation, the middle-class retiree obscured his face with the giant dummy check. Buxton also didn’t speak to the media; reveal his age, address or what he did for a living. At that time Buxton’s winnings were the biggest in the state of California and sixth largest in the nation. The winning numbers were 17, 49, 54, 35, and 1, with Powerball number 34.

8. $430 million, Powerball (May 7th, 2016)

The winning ticket for the $430 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a 7-Eleven on Chambers Street in Trenton, New Jersey. The winning Powerball numbers were 5,25,26,44, and 66 with the Powerball number 9. The ticket claimed by a family of eight had been bought by 70-year old Pearlie Smith. Pearlie opted to split the winning with her seven children. She claimed divine intervention helped win the jackpot, as the numbers came to them in a dream. Pearlie spent $6 on two tickets, from loose cash, one which won. The Smiths promised to pay tithes in their church and cater to their young children. Then the jackpot was the 9th largest in U.S lottery prize history and the largest ever sold in New Jersey. The Smith’s were paid a lump sum of $284 million before taxes. If they had opted for the total $430 million, it would have been paid out annually for over 29 years. The 7-Eleven store owner Andrea Shin was awarded $30,000 by New Jersey lottery for selling the winning ticket.

7. $448 million, Powerball (August 7th, 2013)

The $448 million Powerball jackpot of August 7th 2013 was split into three. There were three winning tickets; two were bought in New Jersey, and one in Holiday Station Store in Ham Lake, Minnesota. The winning numbers were 5, 25, 30, 58 and 59 and the Powerball number was 32. In New Jersey one ticket was sold at a Super Stop and Shop on Summerfield Boulevard in Middlesex County, the other at Acme Markets, Little Egg Harbor Ocean County. Retiree Mario Scarnici from South Brunswick, 16 residents of Ocean County, and Paul White of Ham Minnesota divided the $448 million jackpot. White opted to receive the money in lump sum as $86 million, than $149.4 spread in over 30 years. Scarnici also opted for a lump sum payment and got about $62 million after taxes. The Super Stop and Shop in New Jersey, and Acme Markets each got $30,000 from New Jersey lottery, for selling the winning ticket. Minnesota Lottery also paid the Holiday Station Store $50,000 for selling the other winning ticket there.

6. $564 million, Powerball (February 11th, 2015)

For the $564 million Powerball jackpot on February 11th 2015, the three winning tickets were bought in North Carolina, Texas, and Puerto Rico. The winning numbers were 11,13,25,39 and 54 with Powerball number 19. In Texas the winning ticket was bought at Appletree Food Mart in Princeton, Dallas and in North Carolina the ticket was purchased in Brunswick County. In Puerto Rico the ticket was purchased at a gas station in Ponce. In 2015 the $564 million lottery was the fifth largest in U.S history with each of the three winners entitled to get about $188 million. Marie Holmes, 26 and a mother of four from North Carolina was one of the jackpot winners. By opting to get her money in lump sum she took home $127 million after taxes. Chandra Siwakoti the food mart owner in Texas that sold one of the winning tickets, got $1 million as commission from Powerball. A trust claimed the other winnings that were collected by Andrew Weber in Texas. The other winner from Puerto Rico claimed the winnings anonymously.

5. $588 million, Powerball (November 28th, 2012)

Winning tickets for the November 28th 2012, $588 million Powerball jackpot, were sold in the States of Arizona and Missouri. The winning numbers were 5, 16, 22, 23 and 29 with the Powerball number being 6. Trex Mart a convenience store in Dearborn, Missouri sold one of the winning tickets, the other was sold at 4 Sons Food store in Fountain Hills, a Phoenix suburb. The Arizona winner a married man in his thirties had just moved to the state from Pennsylvania opted for anonymity. He chose to take a lump sum $192 million before taxes, than have large annual payments spread out over 30 years.Mark Hill the Missouri winner and a mechanic at a meat plant, claimed the other half of the winnings in lump sum too. Trex Mart store in Missouri that sold one of the tickets was awarded $50,000 while 4 Sons Food Store in Arizona got $25,000 also.

4. $591 million, Powerball (May 18th, 2013)

Gloria Mackenzie an 84 year old grandmother from Florida won $591 million Powerball jackpot on May 18th 2013. That made her the largest solitary jackpot winner in U.S history. Gloria had purchased her winning ticket at Publix Supermarket in Zephyrhills City, in Pasco County. She won after another lottery player let her buy the $2 ticket ahead of them.The winning numbers 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52 with Powerball number 11, matched the ones on Gloria ticket. For selling the jackpot ticket, Publix Supermarket got a commission of $85,000. After she won, Gloria decided to receive a onetime lump sum payout of $370.9 million, than have the payout being spread over thirty years of annual payments.

3. $648 million, MegaMillions (December 17th, 2013)

The states of California and Georgia were where two winning tickets for the $648 million Mega Millions jackpot were purchased.The winning numbers as announced by Mega Millions on December 17th 2013 were 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, with the Mega Ball number 7.A wife and mother, Ira Curry then 56, had purchased her winning ticket at Gateway Newsstand in Atlanta. Ira opted to receive a onetime cash lump sum of $173.8 million after taxes, than have payments spread over 30 years. The Gateway news stand got 6 percent commission of all the ticket sales according to Georgia laws. In California, the winning ticket was sold at Jennifer’s Gift Shop on Tully Road, San Jose. Thuy Nguyen the shop owner got $1 million in bonus. Steve Tran then a delivery driver from Northern California was the second winner of the jackpot. Like Ira, he also opted for the onetime lump sum payment equivalency.

2. $656 million, MegaMillions (March 30th, 2012)

Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland on March 30th 2012 produced three winning tickets for the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot. The winning numbers were 2, 4, 23, 38, and 46 with the Mega Ball number 23. Winning tickets were bought at Motomart Convenience Store in Red Bud Illinois, the 7-eleven store in Milford Mill Maryland, and Casey Convenience store in Ottawa City, Kansas. Merle Butler from Red Bud then 65, was one of the jackpot winners.Butler and his wife Patricia 62 opted to take $110.5 million in cash one time after state and federal tax deductions than have it annually paid out to them for 26 years. The Kansas winner who chose anonymity was paid his share in cash, like the Butlers. The Maryland winning ticket was shared by three friends who also opted for anonymity. Each took home a little over $35 million after tax deductions. For selling the winning tickets the Motomart received $500,000, the Milford Mill 7-eleven got $100,000 and Casey Convenience store was awarded $10,000 by Kansas Lottery.

1. $1,586 million, Powerball (January 13th, 2016)

The record $1,586 million Powerball lottery jackpot of January 13th 2016 was won by three tickets. The winning tickets were purchased in Chino Hills, California; Munford, Tennessee; and Melbourne Beach, Florida. The winning numbers were 8, 27, 34, 4, and 19 with the Powerball number 10. In Chino Hills the winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven, in Melbourne Beach it was sold at a Publix Supermarket, and in Munford it was at Naifeh’s Food Mart. For selling the winning tickets, Balbir Atwal the owner of the 7-eleven received $1 million, the Publix Supermarket outlet got $100, 000, and Naifeh’s Food Mart got $25,000. Chino Hills couple Marvin and Mae Acosta had one of the three winning tickets. They opted to take the cash in lump sum which amounted to $327.8 million before tax, than take the annual 30 year payment plan worth $528.8 million. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith a couple were the other winners from Melbourne Beach Florida, like the Acosta’s; they chose to take their share in lump sum. John and Lisa Robinson from Munford were the other winners who also opted for a lump sum cash payment equivalent to $327.8 million.


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