The 30 Largest U.S. Lottery Jackpots in History

largest u.s. lottery jackpots in history

The 30 Largest U.S. Lottery Jackpots in History

What are the largest U.S. lottery jackpots in history? The most recent prize went to a lucky California resident, with a massive $1.73 billion jackpot. While many lotto ticket buyers are sitting and waiting wistfully for the next prize, it does bear a little exploration into the history of some of these larger jackpots.

Today’s guide covers the thirty largest jackpots in American history. These are lotto winnings so massive that it truly boggles the mind as to how transformative receiving such a sum of money must be. You might be curious as to what goes into the biggest lotto jackpots in America, so, by all means, read on.

What Makes for the Largest U.S. Lottery Jackpots?

Sums Needed

Most of these lottery winnings will amount to well over $400 million. As you’ll see throughout this guide, most of these lottery jackpots exceed $100 million. There are even quite a few that break into the billions with some ease.

Now, this isn’t a universal thing across all lottery jackpots. It is a game of chance after all, and the odds as well as the prize are constantly changing. Interestingly, you’ll find most winners take the larger payout right away rather than opting for annual payments over an extended period. This is the norm for most lottery winners, as you’ll see.

Tickets Required

For part of the criteria for this list, any number of tickets can work. As you’ll see with the largest jackpot on this list, it required only a single ticket for the winner to net the entire sum. That is more the exception rather than the norm, however.

There are far fewer big prizes split between multiple winners, but it still happens. That might be a disappointment for some of the winners, but if you’re splitting a jackpot of 1.6 billion dollars, who is splitting hairs?

The Largest U.S. Lottery Jackpots

  1. $2.04 Billion: November 8th, 2022
  2. $1.765 Billion: October 11th, 2023
  3. $1.6 Billion: August 8th, 2023
  4. $1.59 Billion: Jan 13, 2016
  5. $1.54 Billion: October 23, 2018
  6. $1.35 Billion: January 13, 2023
  7. $1.34 Billion: July 29, 2022
  8. $1.08 Billion: July 19, 2023
  9. $1.05 Billion: January 22, 2021
  10. $768.4 Million: March 27, 2019
  11. $758.7 Million: August 23, 2017
  12. $754.6 Million: February 6, 2023
  13. $731.1 Million: January 20, 2021
  14. $699.8 Million: October 4, 2021
  15. $687.8 Million: October 27, 2018
  16. $656 Million: March 30, 2012
  17. $648 Million: December 17, 2013
  18. $632.6 Million: January 5, 2022
  19. $590.5 Million: May 18, 2013
  20. $587.5 Million: November 28, 2012
  21. $564.1 Million: February 11, 2015
  22. $559.7 Million: January 6, 2018
  23. $543 Million: July 24, 2018
  24. $536 Million: July 8, 2016
  25. $533 Million: March 30, 2018
  26. $530 Million: June 7, 2019
  27. $516 Million: May 21, 2021
  28. $494 Million: October 14, 2022
  29. $487 Million: July 30, 2016
  30. $483 Million: April 14, 2023

1. $2.04 Billion

largest u.s. lottery jackpots in history
These winners took home some massive prizes.

The largest U.S. lottery jackpot in history was awarded on November 8th, 2022. The total size of the jackpot amounted to 2.04 billion dollars, and a single ticket won the whole prize. Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California sold the ticket. Funnily enough, a technical difficulty meant the winning numbers were called the day after the original date.

One can only imagine how nervous the winner must’ve been when waiting a full 24 hours to see how much they had won. Despite the stated jackpot size of $2.04 billion, the total cash take home after taxes was $997.6 million, which is still quite a considerable sum.

2. $1.765 Billion

The most recent of the massive jackpots. This is second in line for the largest U.S. lottery jackpots in history. One lucky California resident got to claim the whole prize, with a case value of well over $750 million.

California is one of the best states to actually win big, as you don’t have to contend with additional taxes aside from what the federal government takes.

3. $1.6 Billion

The first on this list to not be from Powerball was this landmark Mega Millions jackpot. With a stated cash value of 794.2 million dollars, the winner’s life has likely been changed forever. What is notable about this jackpot is that it was again won by a single ticket. The winning ticket was sold in Florida on August 8th, 2023.

4. $1.59 Billion

This massive jackpot holds the distinction of being the first in American history to be over 1 billion dollars. The actual cash value of the lottery jackpot amounted to $327.8 million, which was split between three winners. Winning tickets were registered in California, Tennessee, and Florida.

Despite being such a landmark win, this is a fairly recent event. One of the largest U.S. lottery jackpots in history only occurred in 2016. Most of these massive jackpots are also in the last decade, however.

5. $1.54 Billion

This is arguably one of the most wholesome lottery wins on this list. A Simpsonville, SC gas station sold this ticket to a woman in October of 2018. While this is one of the largest lottery tickets ever awarded, the recipient decided to pay such a massive sum forward.

Part of the $877.8 million cash value was applied to charities around Upstate South Carolina. This massive windfall was one of the largest single payouts in American history. What makes this largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history notable is what the money went on to do, rather than who won.

6. $1.35 Billion

This massive lottery ticket came just a few months after the largest in American history. The winning ticket was sold in Maine, after days of the jackpot growing and growing. It ended up reaching 1.35 billion dollars, a princely sum. The cash value of the jackpot itself was $724.6 million, not accounting for taxes and other expenses.

7. $1.34 Billion

This winning ticket was sold in July of 2022. The total cash value amounted to 780.5 million dollars. An Illinois resident was the sole recipient of the entire pot. At the time of the ticket’s sale, this was the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, at least for the Mega Millions prize pool.

8. $1.08 Billion

This particular lottery ticket was the third time in Powerball’s entire history that the prize pool hit over $1 billion. That said, the winning ticket itself was sold in California with a total cash value of $558.1 million, not accounting for taxes and other fees. Interestingly, this was another single-ticket winner, which was quite a surprise for the winner.

9. $1.05 Billion

The 2020s are a banner decade for Mega Millions. Some of the largest jackpots it has ever awarded took place after 2020. This particular winning ticket is no exception and is the last of our $1 billion prize pools. The winning ticket for this one went to a Michigan lottery player, who ended up taking $530 million home after taxes and other concessions.

10. $768.4 Million

While this jackpot doesn’t cross the $1 billion range, it was still one of the largest in Powerball history. With a total cash value of around $477 million, this Wisconsin winner ended up landing one of the largest jackpots in U.S. history at the time. That said, it has since been eclipsed by any number of winners previously mentioned.

11. $758.7 Million

There is a lot of fantasizing about what you could do when winning the lottery. For this jackpot, the winner capitalized on that and told her boss she wasn’t returning to work. With a total cash value of $480.5 million, it isn’t hard to see why she planned on retiring early.

12. $754.6 Million

Another massive jackpot went by earlier this year in February. While it isn’t the top record holder for Powerball, it is still substantial. The winning ticket went to a Washington resident, who took home $407.2 million after taxes and other fees. This was another single-ticket winner, which seems like a dream come true for many.

13. $731.1 Million

This Powerball ticket winner reads like something out of a movie. The winning ticket went to a Maryland resident who was living in a struggling coal mining town. With a total value of $546.8 million, this was a life-changing event for quite a few Maryland residents. The gas station where the winning ticket was sold netted a cool $100,000 commission for the sale of the ticket.

14. $699.8 Million

In an odd move, this ticket was actually announced on a Monday drawing. This jackpot struggled to find a winner, with three weekly drawings eventually allowing the pot to soar past $600 million. The winner ended up taking home a lump sum payment of $496 million.

15. $687.8 Million

This 2018 winner was split between two tickets, with Iowa and New York represented. With a total cash value of $396.2 million split two ways, it was quite a sum to receive. While this was one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history, it doesn’t stack up to the $1 billion winners seen.

16. $656 Million

With a cash prize of $474 million on the line, three winners ended up getting very lucky in Kansas, Illinois, and Maryland. This 2012 price jackpot was one of the largest on record for the time for Mega Millions. This ended up being quite the payday for all the ticket sellers as well, with one gas station taking home a $500 million bounty.

17. $648 Million

largest u.s. lottery jackpots in history
What numbers would you pick for your winning lottery ticket?

This massive jackpot was split between two different tickets. Sold originally in 2013, the winning tickets were received in Georgia and California. A lump sum of $173.8 ended up going home with both winners, a common occurrence since very few winners end up taking the 30-year annual payment plan.

18. $632.6 Million

Another recent winner saw a Powerball drawing of $632.6 million go to a California and Wisconsin resident, respectively. Each ticket ended up getting a cool $225.1 million as a lump sum, rather than the annual payment plan. This wasn’t the absolute largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history for Powerball, but it was in the running. The promotion had already seen totals of over $1 billion hit for prize pools at this point.

19. $590.5 Million

2013 was a banner year for Powerball. A massive record-breaking $590.5 million lottery jackpot ended up going to one lucky Florida resident. As you’ll see with most winners on this list, the recipient ended up taking a one-time lump sum payment. While a total cash value of $370.9 million is significantly lower, it is still a mind-bogglingly large sum of money.

20. $587.5 Million

Two lucky winners ended up splitting a cash value of $381.1 million with this record-breaking jackpot. Another Powerball prize pool, this 2012 jackpot ended up as one of the largest ever awarded. One can only imagine the absolute shock and joy that ran over both winners with such a huge sum awarded on pure chance.

21. $564.1 Million

This 2015 ticket was split three ways with winners in Puerto Rico, Texas, and North Carolina. As another Powerball jackpot, the total cash value was a given $381.1 million. Split three ways you can imagine it was quite a delight to be on the receiving end of such a massive payday. This was one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history at the time of the drawing.

22. $559.7 Million

Interestingly, this lottery winner ended up setting a landmark decision. Originally sold in 2018 to a New Hampshire resident, this ended up establishing a precedent for anonymity for the winner. They ended up taking home a total cash prize of $352 million in one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history.

23. $543 Million

A California resident won big in 2018 with this $543 million Mega Millions jackpot. With a total cash value of $320.5 million, they ended up with quite the lump sum at the end of the day. While this isn’t the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, it ended up being a huge win for the lucky winner.

24. $536 Million

Could you possibly imagine forgetting you purchased a ticket with one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history? For one Indiana couple in 2016, this is exactly what happened. At the time of its drawing, it was the single longest solo ticket win in Mega Millions history. Things must have been fairly exciting for the couple if they completely forgot about winning a cash prize worth $378.2 million before taxes.

25. $533 Million

Would you double-check the numbers on a winning lottery ticket you purchased? For one New Jersey resident, this is exactly what happened with their winning ticket for a $533 million jackpot. In disbelief, this prize ended up checking the numbers over fifteen times before finally stepping up to claim his prize.

26. $530 Million

Interestingly, this is another single-ticket winner for a massive jackpot. One California resident ended up winning big in June of 2019 for this Mega Millions jackpot worth $530 million. As you’ve no doubt surmised from the previous winners, they ended up taking the giant lump sum upfront, totaling $345.2 million before taxes and other fees.

27. $516 Million

While trusts and other financial unions aren’t unheard of in the world of banking, it is a much rarer occurrence in lotto tickets. That is exactly what one group of five friends did in Pennsylvania for this Mega Millions jackpot. A single ticket won the big prize, but the $348.6 million cash value was split five ways. The winning ticket was sold in July of 2021.

28. $494 Million

Generally speaking, any number of lottery winners are breaking a record in the modern era. This Mega Millions winner went to winners in California and Florida. Curiously, this came after a record-shattering cash prize of $1.34 billion, which was covered earlier. As with many winners, this lucky resident took home the full cash prize of $252 million.

29. $487 Million

July of 2016 let one lucky New Hampshire resident win big. This $487 million price went to a single ticket, giving quite a payday for the winner. The total cash prize amounted to $341.7 million, which was of course taken as a single lump sum.

30. $483 Million

Earlier this year one lucky Queens resident won a massive payday. With a cash prize of $256.9 million before taxes, it should come as no surprise that the winner chose a big cash out. This is the norm for most lottery winners, as you’ve seen with all the other winners in this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone play the lottery?

In most states, yes, but you’ll need to be over the age of 18 to purchase a ticket.

Are the odds good for winning the lottery?

They are quite small for winning the big prize.

Does the lottery benefit people who don't play?

Yes, it goes on to fund a variety of different projects on the federal and state level.

Could anyone win the lottery?

Anyone who purchases a ticket for Mega Millions or Powerball certainly has a chance.

Is playing the lottery like gambling?

Yes, just make sure you’ve got some discretionary funds before spending on a lottery ticket.

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