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Mega Millions $1.3 billion winner in Illinois running out of time to make decision

It was the third biggest prize pot in lottery history, and we’re still waiting for the one lucky winner to claim the life-changing sum.

Resultados Mega Millions hoy: números que cayeron y premios del sorteo | 16 de agosto

On Friday 29 July 2022 much of the country tuned in to watch the third-highest jackpot drawn in the Mega Millions lottery. A stunning $1.337 billion was up for grabs for a winning ticket. As everyone checked and double checked their numbers, it quickly became clear from lottery officials that there was just a single winner, matching the numbers 13, 36, 45, 57 and 67 and a Mega Ball of 14.

Given that the world’s largest ever jackpot, a $1.586 billion Powerball draw from 2016, was split between three winning tickets, this news meant that this recent Mega Millions winner appeared to have the second-largest single ticket jackpot ever recorded. Then we awaited news on the lucky person...

What do we know about the Mega Millions jackpot winner?

It was across in Illinois where lottery officials confirmed that the billion-dollar ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Des Plaines, a small city of around 60,000. The city is located roughly 17 miles northwest of Chicago and was the site for most of the filming of iconic 1985 film The Breakfast Club, at the now closed Maine North High School.

Incredibly, to some, the lottery winner has still not yet claimed their prize, now a month after the draw. Of course it is possible that they may choose to do so anonymously to avoid the intense speculation and risk of raising scammers’ attention, but we would still know that it had been collected. Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays Mays commented on this.

“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.”

When does lottery winner have to decide payment method?

One key date for the winner -- remember it could have been someone just passing through Illinois -- is getting ever closer, and that is the deadline for choosing how they want the prize money to be paid out.

Fortunately for us, we have the Illinois Lottery’s Winner’s Handbook to get our information and in that it says that “Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball winners have 60 days after the date of the drawing to choose the cash option or annual payments.” And there’s more.

“Failure to choose a payment option within the 60-day time period will automatically result in annuity payments.”

$1.337 billion: cash or annuity?

So, the decision has to be made by 31 October 2022, and here are how the options break down.

If the winner chooses cash (in almost all situations that is the best one), then an estimated $780.5 million will be handed over. If annual payments selected, then the $1.337 billion will be paid out over 29 years.

Un boleto en Illinois gana el segundo premio mayor más grande de Mega Millions
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When does the lottery ticket becomes invalid?

There are various rules around the length of time that lottery winners have to collect their prize, sometimes as little as just a few months.

Regarding this particular case, if you are hoping that the billion-dollar prize will go back out for people to try again, you still have some time to wait. The ticket holder has an entire year to claim so this discussion would come into play until July 2023.

Out of interest, the gas station chain that sold the winning ticket will receive a half-million dollar bonus. Tasty!


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