Illinois Mega Millions Winner Comes Forward, Anonymously Claims $552 Million Prize Won Online

Erik Gibbs

mega millions winner screen

The winner of the $552 million Mega Millions jackpot that hit last week in Illinois has stepped forward, anonymously, to claim the prize, the Illinois Lottery announced Monday morning.

The June 4 drawing produced the ninth-largest jackpot in the history of Mega Millions and the second-largest lottery prize ever won in the Prairie State. The record for the largest prize in the state still stands — the $1.337 billion jackpot won in July 2022, when a ticket purchased at a Des Plaines gas station changed the life of another lucky winner.

“I’ve always dreamed of retiring early and enjoying life with my family. I think it’s safe to say my dream just came true.”

— Illinois Mega Millions lottery winner

The recent Illinois lottery winner made the winning purchase through the Illinois iLottery app. This set a new record for the largest jackpot ever won in the U.S. via an online lottery platform, according to the Illinois Lottery.

The Illinois Lottery Des Plaines Prize Center supervisor shows off the check presented to the anonymous winner

Who’s the winner?

Few details are known about the winner because they have the right in Illinois to remain anonymous, but the lottery administrator shared a few quotes the illuminate the lucky player’s circumstances.

“I was raised by a single mom and throughout my childhood, she had to work two jobs to provide for our family, to put food on the table, and for us to get an education,” the winner said. “The day after I graduated from high school, I started working and I haven’t stopped since.

“I am a hard worker. I’ve spent my life as a laborer and once I was making a decent living, I asked my mom to retire and let me take care of her. It was my way of thanking her for how much she sacrificed for us. I haven’t told her yet about this life-changing windfall but when that time comes, we’re all going to be shedding some happy tears.”

The winner also spoke a bit about the experience of finding out they won.

“I was scrolling through my emails when I saw one from the Illinois Lottery saying to check my numbers because I won a prize,” the winner said. “In the past, I’ve won $2 here or $5 there, so I assumed it would be similar.

“You can’t imagine my shock and disbelief when I saw that I had won the jackpot amount of $552 million. I actually quit the app and then signed back in to double check and make sure it was real. It was real alright — but it still feels unreal!”

Another Illinois iLottery participant hit a jackpot the next day, June 5, by winning Fast Play for $2.8 million. Since the beginning of the year, four people in Illinois have won at least $1 million playing the Mega Millions lottery.

The Illinois Lottery’s success does not only come in the form of creating overnight millionaires; it’s also making a substantial impact on the community. Since March 26, the total ticket sales have amassed nearly $28 million, out of which $11 million has been funneled into the Common School Fund to support K-12 education in Illinois.

Defying the odds

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are quite daunting, standing at approximately 1 in 302.6 million. The odds of winning the Powerball are similar, about 1 in 292.2 million.

While the primary focus tends to be on the jackpot, Mega Millions also offers various smaller prizes with better odds of winning, including:

  • Matching 3 numbers + Mega Ball: This prize tier offers a $200 payout and has much better odds of 1 in 14,547.
  • Matching 4 numbers, no Mega Ball: Here, the odds are 1 in 38,792 and the win is worth $500.
  • Matching 2 numbers + Mega Ball: This tier offers a modest $10 payout but boasts more realistic odds of 1 in 693.

Despite the astronomical odds, the allure of such a life-changing jackpot continues to draw countless hopefuls to purchase tickets. It’s important to note that the odds are fixed, meaning that every ticket has an equal chance of winning, regardless of the jackpot size or the number of tickets sold for a particular draw.