There’s a lot of value in a hard-earned dollar, but if we’re being honest there’s a lot more in free millions. Everyone has dreamed about winning the lottery at some point, especially when the news shows jackpots in the hundreds of millions.
Right now, the Mega Millions jackpot is worth over $2.2 billion, so the winner will land the biggest jackpot in history. Here are the top five so far that has occurred:
5. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one winner)
Despite being the fifth biggest jackpot, this is actually the second largest individual payout ever. 84-year-old Floridian Gloria Mackenzie took home about $370 million after taxes from her winning ticket. At the time, she was the biggest single lottery winner in U.S. history.
4. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (two winners)
What would you tell your employer if you won the lottery? When Steve Tran won in 2013, he went with “I’m really sorry, boss. I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow or ever.”
Tran, from California, split the jackpot with Georgian Ira Curry. Both men took a lump sum of around $120 million after taxes.
3. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three winners)
Splitting the lottery three ways might sound like a bummer, but this payout was still more than $215 million for each winning ticket.
A retired couple in Illinois, Merle and Patricia Butler, were the only winners announced publicly, while a group of friends in Maryland and an unknown winner in Kansas took home nice checks as well.
2. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one winner)
Mavis Wanczyk was a hospital worker in Massachusetts before she became the richest single lottery winner of all time. After hitting the jackpot, Wanczyk took to Facebook to announce her new job would be “on a beach. With rum.” Can’t say I blame her.
1. $1.6 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three winners)
By far the biggest lottery payout in U.S. history so far, this jackpot was split three ways. John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee, Mae and Marvin Acosta of California and Maureen Smith of Florida each hauled in $327.8 million after taxes.
Smith told the Florida Lottery that she finally got lucky after playing the same set of numbers for six years.