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As Mega Millions Prize Grows to $790 Million, These are the Largest Lottery Jackpots in U.S. History

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No jackpot-winning tickets were sold for Friday’s Mega Millions game, but the next drawing on Tuesday is expected to see the top prize grow to nearly $800 million.

If the jackpot hits the $790 million level, as lottery officials have said that it likely will, then it would become the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in United States history, trailing a trio of billion-dollar prizes.

The Mega Millions drawing is offered in 45 states, including Illinois and Indiana. Tickets cost $2 per play, and a “Megaplier” option allows players to tack on an additional $1 to try to enlarge all non-jackpot prizes.

Tickets can either be purchased at thousands of retailers throughout the country, or via certain lottery websites, including via the Illinois Lottery’s app and website.

Here are the largest jackpots ever offered in U.S. history:

Jan. 2016: Powerball $1.586 billion (California, Florida, Tennessee)

Touted as the largest lottery jackpot ever won, the Jan. 13, 2016 Powerball drawing split a jackpot of nearly $1.6 billion among three lucky players.

Oct. 2018: Mega Millions $1.5 billion (South Carolina)

The largest prize ever won by a single ticket was awarded in the Oct. 23, 2018 drawing, with one lucky winner in South Carolina walking away with a cash prize of $877.8 million.

Jan. 2021: Mega Millions $1 billion (Michigan, Kansas)

One of only three lottery jackpots to exceed $1 billion, this ticket, sold in Michigan, paid the winner $776.6 million as a cash prize.

July 2022: Mega Millions $790 million

It appears likely that the July 26, 2022 Mega Millions drawing will become the fourth-largest lottery prize ever, with tickets still available until one hour prior to the drawing.

Mar. 2019: Powerball $768.4 million (Wisconsin)

This winning ticket was purchased in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

These drawings round out the top ten:

Aug. 2017: Powerball $758.7 million (Massachusetts)

Jan. 2021: Powerball $731.1 million (Maryland)

Oct. 2021: Powerball $699.8 million (California)

Oct. 2018: Powerball $687.8 million (Iowa, New York)

Dec. 2013: Mega Millions $648 million (Georgia)

Mar. 2012: Mega Millions $646 million (Illinois, Maryland, California)

This jackpot, split three ways, was the highest total prize to ever be captured by an Illinois resident. Merle and Patricia Butler captured nearly $219 million by purchasing a ticket in Red Bud, located in the southwestern corner of the state.  

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