Tick tock, tick tock.
According to Illinois Lottery officials, the winner of the July 29 $1.34 billion Mega Millions lottery ticket, purchased at a gas station in suburban Des Plaines, still hasn't come forward.
"As far as the winner is concerned, we have not heard from the winner yet," Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays said earlier this summer at a press conference. "We don't know whether or not they even know that they won the prize, so I encourage everybody to check your ticket."
As it turns out, however, that's not so unusual.
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“For a prize of this magnitude, it’s not unusual for the winner to take a while to claim,” Mays previously said in a statement. “I’m sure they’re going through a range of emotions.”
The Illinois Lottery encourages the winner to sign the back of their ticket, seek legal advice and make an appointment with the Illinois Lottery to claim their prize.
And while the winner has 12 months from the date of the draw to claim their winnings, state lottery officials say Illinois winners of $250,000 or more can choose to not release their names.
But there is a more pressing time frame.
According to Illinois Lottery's Winner's Handbook, "Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball winners have 60 days after the date of the drawing to choose the cash option or annual payments."
The $1.337 billion prize would be paid annually over 29 years if the winner picks the annuity option. If the winner opts for cash, they would receive an estimated $780.5 million.
"Failure to choose a payment option within the 60-day time period will automatically result in annuity payments," the handbook states.
As of Sept. 19, the clock is ticking. The winner has only eight days left to decide.
In the meantime, the Illinois Lottery has revealed a different winner: Speedway, the corporate gas station chain perched at 885 E. Touhy Ave., will receive a half-million dollar bonus for selling the winning ticket.