Winning Big: The Top 10 Mega Millions and Powerball Jackpots of All Time


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To date, the Powerball has ventured into billion-dollar territory five times and the Mega Millions six times—this includes the most recent Mega Millions prize, which hit $1.13 billion ($537.5 million estimated cash option). On March 26, 2024, a player in New Jersey snagged one of the biggest jackpot payouts ever.

Who holds the record for winning the biggest jackpot in U.S. history? In 2022, a resident of Altadena, California, became an overnight multi-millionaire after winning the largest jackpot of all time: $2.04 billion. Record-breaking payouts aside, the individual missed nabbing the title of billionaire by less than $3 million when they opted for the lump sum cash prize (and paid the necessary taxes on their winnings).

Analyzing the most lucrative lottery winners so far tells us two things: some states are luckier than others, and lottery taxes are steep. Here are the top 10 lottery winners, their earnings before and after Uncle Sam takes his cut, and the state they won in.

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Top 10 Lottery Winners of All Time

1. $2.04 Billion Powerball from California

Edwin Castro matched the winning numbers for a $2.04 billion jackpot on November 8, 2022, making it the biggest lottery prize ever claimed. The single-ticket winner opted for a lump sum of $997.6 million. After federal withholdings and taxes, Castro pocketed an estimated $628.5 million. (California is one of eight states that don’t tax lottery winnings.)

The ticket was purchased at Joe’s Service Center in Los Angeles County. Per California custom, the retailer also received a $1 million lottery bonus for selling the winning ticket.

2. $1.765 Billion Powerball from California 

California lottery players struck gold again on October 11, 2023, when ​​Theodorus Struyck won the $1.765 billion Powerball. The lump-sum cash value was $774.1 million, or $487.7 million after federal taxes. If he chose annuity payments, he’d receive 29 annual payments that increase by 5% each year. The lucky ticket was sold at Midway Market & Liquor on Frazier Mountain Park Road in Frazier Park, a suburb south of Bakersfield. 

3. $1.602 Billion Mega Millions from Florida

The winning ticket from the $1.6 billion Mega Millions drawing on August 8, 2023, was sold at a Publix in Neptune Beach. The winner stayed anonymous as long as legally allowed in Florida and finally claimed the win under an entity called Saltines Holdings, LLC in December 2023. The entity took the lump sum cash payment of $794.2 million, or roughly $293.8 million after taxes. Florida does not levy state taxes on lottery winnings. Retailers who sell the winning ticket are also entitled to a bonus of up to $100,000.

4. $1.586 Billion Powerball from California, Florida, and Tennessee

Three winners from California, Florida, and Tennessee claimed the $1.586 billion prize on January 13, 2016. The winners split the jackpot resulting in a lump sum prize of nearly $328 million each. After federal taxes, that’s about $206.6 million.

5. $1.537 Billion Mega Millions from South Carolina

An unidentified winner from South Carolina won more than $1.5 million after buying a Mega Millions ticker at a KC Mart convenience store near Greenville on October 23, 2018. If the buyer took the lump sum cash option of $878 million, they would have earned $497.8 million after federal and state taxes that year. The convenience store also got a $50,000 cut once the prize was claimed.

6. $1.348 Billion Mega Millions from Maine

An individual in Maine accepted their $1.348 billion prize under the name LaKoma Island Investments, LLC, an out-of-state limited liability company. The ticket snagged on Friday, January 13, 2023, was purchased at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine. If the winner opted for the lump sum of $723.6 million, they would have taken home $498 million after taxes. The retailer received a $50,000 commission for selling the winning ticket.

7. $1.337 Billion Mega Millions from Illinois

Luck was on the side of an Illinois resident who cashed in on one of the biggest jackpots of all time on July 29, 2022: $1.337 billion ($780.5 million cash). Winners of jackpots of $250,000 or more can remain anonymous in the state; however, lottery officials can confirm the ticket was purchased at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Des Plaines. Per Illinois law, the retailer also received a hefty cash bonus of $500,000 for selling the winning ticket. After taxes, this winner had about $453.1 million left to make their dreams come true.

8. $1.13 Billion Mega Millions from New Jersey

The winning ticket for the fifth-largest Mega Millions drawing ever recorded was sold in New Jersey. The March 26, 2024, drawing earned an unidentified individual an estimated $1.13 billion payout. Garden State law allows lottery players to stay anonymous, but the world will eventually know where the ticket was sold and the official cash value once the sales are finalized and the ticket is claimed. The retailer who sold the winning ticket could receive a bonus of up to $30,000 for their part in the win. Should the player opt for the lump sum, they’d take home just under 305.1 million after paying Uncle Sam his fair share.

9. $1.08 Billion Powerball from California

The winner of the fourth-largest Powerball drawing remains a mystery to the general public. The ticket, purchased at Las Palmitas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles for the July 19, 2023, drawing, entitled the winner to a lump sum of $558.1 million before taxes. After required federal withholding for 2023, the winner took home just over $351.6 million. 

10. $1.05 Billion, Mega Millions from Michigan

A four-member lottery club near Detroit, Michigan, claimed the $1.05 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot when the winning numbers were drawn on January 22, 2021. The Wolverine FLL Club chose to receive their prize as a one-time lump sum payment of about $776 million. After the required federal withholdings and 4.25% state tax, the club received about $557 million. 

For selling the winning ticket, Kroger grocery store received a $50,000 commission, which they announced they would donate to the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

States With The Most Lottery Winners

Even though four of the largest lottery wins of all time have hailed from California, it’s not the luckiest state. When tallying all Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot winners, New York has the most lottery wins on record at 54 (42 Mega Millions and 12 Powerball). California is a close second with 50 wins, and New Jersey rounds out the top three luckiest states with 35 wins. 

When it comes to Powerball wins, the top five luckiest states are:

  • Pennsylvania: 18 wins
  • Florida: 16 wins
  • California: 14 wins
  • New York: 12 wins
  • Indiana: 12 wins  

For Mega Millions, the top five luckiest states are:

  • New York: 42 wins
  • California: 36 wins
  • New Jersey: 24 wins
  • Ohio: 20 wins
  • Michigan: 18 wins

There are only three states that have yet to sell a winning lottery ticket: Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wyoming. 


To identify the top winners in lottery history, we evaluated data from and To determine how much of the winnings go to taxes, we calculated the federal taxes as listed by the Internal Revenue Service for the year in question and the applicable state taxes as defined by each state’s Department of Revenue website. For the most accurate estimate of taxes incurred, we assumed each winner was a single taxpayer with no other earned income, deductions, or credits.

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