LIFESTYLE

Winner of $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot claims prize in Florida

Sep 27, 2023, 12:07 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The winner of the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot in August has come forward to claim the prize, officials said Wednesday.

Under a new Florida law, the winner’s name remains anonymous for 90 days from the date the prize was claimed, which was on Sept. 25, lottery officials said in an email. The lottery did not confirm whether the winner took the lump sum or the annuity, and did not specify the estimated lump sum amount.

In Florida, winners have to claim the lump sum within 60 days of the drawing. They have up to 180 days if they choose to go with an annuity, which is paid out in 30 annual installments. The jackpot is also subject to federal taxes. There’s no state income tax in Florida.

The winning ticket was sold at a Publix supermarket in Neptune Beach, a town along the Atlantic Coast near Jacksonville. The winning numbers on Aug. 8 were 13, 19, 20, 32, 33 and the Mega Ball was 14.

In all, Mega Millions has had five billion dollar-plus prizes.

The largest jackpot ever was a Powerball ticket in California worth a whopping $2.04 billion in Nov. 8, 2022 drawing. The next largest was also a Powerball prize of $1.586 billion on Jan. 13, 2016. That prize was split among three winning tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.

The Florida Mega Millions jackpot comes in third. The fourth, fifth and sixth largest jackpots were also Mega Millions prizes, with $1.537 billion going to a single winner in South Carolina on Oct. 23, 2018; $1.35 billion won in Maine on Jan. 13, 2023; and $1.337 billion won in Illinois on July 29, 2022.

The Maine winner of the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot collected the prize in February, and chose to remain anonymous. The winner collected the cash option through a limited liability company, LaKoma Island Investments LLC, Maine State Lottery officials said.

Historically, most grand prize winners have opted to receive the prize as a one-time, lump sum payment, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Sometimes, winners do opt for the annuity, including the jackpot winner in Virginia from the March 4, 2023 drawing. That winner, whose name remains anonymous under Virginia law, chose an annuity worth $156.7 million to be paid out annually.

Before that, the last time a Powerball winner opted for the annuity was in 2014.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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