Everyone knows by now that the winner of the almost $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot was a single ticket sold at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Ill. However, there is still no word on the lucky winner. What happens if no one claims the Mega Millions?
According to the Mega Millions website, if no one steps forward to claim the third-largest lottery jackpot in history, all the prize money will go back to the states participating in the game. The participating states get back the amount ticket buyers in their state contributed to the jackpot and can do what they want with the money.
“We have not heard from the winner yet. We don’t know whether or not they’re aware they’ve won this incredible prize. So we’re telling all of our players — check your tickets,” Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays said in a statement.
The Mega Millions winner has a year to claim the prize.
Almost all U.S. states participate in the Mega Millions games, except for Nevada, Utah, Alabama, Alaska, and Hawaii. Each state sets its own time limit on when a winner has to claim their prize, which usually ranges between 90 days and one year from the draw date. In Illinois, where the winning ticket was sold, the winner has one year from the drawing date to claim the prize.
Illinois is also one of several states that allow winners of prizes over $250,000 to remain anonymous. The winner has to request anonymity when they claim their prize. Otherwise, the Illinois Lottery makes their name, home city, and the amount they won public.
So, it could be a while before we know who the winner is if that information is released at all. At this point, it still isn't clear if the winner is an individual, a group of people, or even an Illinois resident.
The store that sold the winning ticket will get $500,000.
The Speedway gas station and convenience store at East Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines that sold the winning ticket also benefits from the sale. The store will receive $500,000 just for selling the ticket.
"Obviously, it's a shock, but I'm happy that somebody from Illinois was able to win it," a Speedway employee told Fox 6 television in Milwaukee.
Don't forget that 26 tickets won $1 million.
If you didn’t win the jackpot, you might still have won a considerable amount. A total of 26 winning tickets for $1 million were sold in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Six of those tickets were worth $2 million because they matched all five numbers with the Megaplier.
The winning number drawn on July 29 is 13, 36, 45, 57, and 67, with 14 as the Mega Ball. The jackpot was $1.337 billion, which, taken in a lump sum, would be about $780.5 million in cash because the lottery keeps about 39 percent. Most lottery winners take the lump sum rather than the annuity, which would pay the full winning amount in annual payments over 30 years.