The Largest Lottery Jackpots In History: The Top 5

Jacob Rebb

Updated on:

Couple enjoying money from lottery winning

The people who play the lottery daily, weekly, or even sporadically are all playing for one thing: the jackpot. For lottery games like the Mega Millions or Powerball, jackpots are always in the multiple millions of dollars.

Because the odds of hitting the big prize in the games I mentioned are, on average, 1 in 292,000,000, these jackpots can reach exorbitant amounts. In the past seven years, we have seen lottery jackpots reach a billion or more; yes, I said a billion dollars or more. This is the second part in a series of looking at the Top 10 biggest lottery jackpots ever.

We’ve done Nos. 6-10, and here are the Top 5. Who won the biggest prize ever? Read and find out!

No. 5

Ticket Drawn: July 19, 2023

Location: Illinois

Jackpot Amount: $1.337 billion

It took eight weeks for the winners of the fifth-largest jackpot in history to claim their ticket. The two winners would split the $1.337 billion, getting $780.5 million (before fees and taxes).

The two winners who split one ticket decided to remain anonymous. Not a bad decision when you become an almost-billionaire overnight. It had taken three months and 29 winless drawings in a row before this Mega Millions reached this massive prize. 

These winners decided to take the lump sum payout instead of the 30 annual payments of $42.6 million per year, receiving $470.7 million each. The Speedway gas station, which sold the winning ticket, received a half-a-million dollar bonus.

No. 4

Ticket Drawn: January 13, 2023

Location: Maine

Jackpot Amount: $1.35 billion

The winner of this jackpot wanted to keep their identity a secret, and you may have wanted to as well, to insulate yourself from the attention that comes with winning $1.35 billion. Claiming their winnings through a limited liability company, this ticket was won on an unlucky day for some: Friday the 13th, 2023.

The LaKoma Island Investments, LLC. representative told news outlets, “The winner is thoughtfully considering the best uses of the life-changing prize.”

No. 3

Ticket Drawn: October 23, 2018

Location: South Carolina

Jackpot Amount: $1.537 billion

Some states make the winners of lottery jackpots come forward publicly, while other states allow their winners to remain anonymous. So when the first-ever $1.537 Billion lottery jackpot was won by a single person in South Carolina, mystery gripped the small town of Simpsonville.

Sold at a KC Mart in the small South Carolina town, it was the single largest individual prize won in U.S. history. It was the first time South Carolina had a jackpot winner in eight years.

No. 2

Ticket Drawn: January 13, 2016

Location: California, Florida, Tennessee

Jackpot Amount: $1.586 billion

It was the only time in the Top 10 list of largest jackpots in U.S. history there were multiple winners across three states. It took 30 un-won drawings before this jackpot reached this exorbitant amount of $1.586 billion. This jackpot started at $40 million on November 4, 2015.

The winners finally hit the big one on January 13, 2016. The three big winners were John and Lisa Robinson from Munford, Tennessee, Mae Acosta from California, and Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt from Melbourne Beach, Florida.

John and Lisa Robinson appeared on The Today Show to claim their jackpot prize. They decided to announce their win on the show before even officially claiming their prize to keep control over the narrative. The pair decided on taking the lump sum payout of $327 million. 

Six months after the drawing, Marvin and Mae Acosta claimed their portion of the prize in Melbourne Beach, Florida. 

Lisa Robinson, who worked in a dermatologist’s office, told her boss she wouldn’t be in on Friday but to watch The Today Show.

No. 1

Ticket Drawn: November 8, 2022

Location: California

Jackpot Amount: $2.04 billion

The largest jackpot ever won in U.S. history eclipsed the $2 billion mark on November 8, 2022. It had a single winner in Altadena, California. His name was Edwin Castro.

The 31-year-old California man declined to appear in public but decided to take the lump sum payment of $997.6 million, just missing the billionaire title. Since his life-changing win, records show he has since purchased three homes across California, two expensive Porsches, and a number of classic cars.