After nearly eight weeks, the winners of the third largest jackpot in US lotto history claimed their historic prize.
The pair, who chose to remain anonymous, came forward nearly two months after the win, said Illinois Lottery officials Wednesday. The lucky duo hit the $1.337 billion Mega Millions jackpot after purchasing a single ticket in late July in a Chicago suburb.
Reportedly, the winners agreed to split the prize if they won. That means each new multi-millionaire gets over $668 million.
Illinois Lottery offers big winners option to remain anonymous
Like some other states, Illinois gives winners of extreme lotto prizes the choice to remain anonymous. This allowance protects winners from the many complications that can arise when a big win is made public. Within the state, prize winners of $250,000 or above can choose to protect their anonymity.
In this case, the winners have chosen to do just that. This decision means Illinois Lottery cannot share any details about the winners. However, the lotto also said they’re confident the lucky pair are “over the moon” about their stratospheric win.
Illinois Lottery claims manager Luis Rodriguez supported the winners and their legal team throughout the prize claim process.
“I’ve been working for the Illinois Lottery for over five years, and this is by far the largest prize I’ve ever had to process. When we met with the winners’ lawyers, there was a real buzz of excitement in the room,” said Rodriguez.
“It’s a surreal feeling giving away this amount of money and knowing what a huge impact this is going to make on the winners’ lives and for others close to them as well. It was an incredible feeling just to be part of that process – so I can only imagine how the winners themselves are feeling.”
Winners choose to receive $780 million lump sum payout
“These winners are now in the enviable position of deciding what to do with their newfound fortune,” said Illinois Lottery director Harold Mays.
“They stopped into the Speedway in Des Plaines and grabbed a Mega Millions ticket while they were there. That turned out to be an absolutely life changing decision when a $3 line of Mega Millions with Megaplier turned into a $1.34 billion jackpot win.”
Over the last weeks, the winners worked with legal and financial advisors and decided to take the lump sum payment of $780.5 million. That’s $390,250,000 each, before taxes.
Lotto ticket sales benefit Illinois residents and retailers too
This most recent Mega Millions jackpot roll started building on April 16, leading up to the July 29 win.
In addition to the jackpot winners, the State of Illinois also came on top. During the jackpot’s build-up, the Illinois Lottery gained $34 million for the Common School Fund through ticket sales.
Illinois retailers also earned their share, with $3.75 million in payable commission and bonuses to winning ticket sellers. In total, the more than 1.4 million winning tickets purchased in Illinois garnered $11.8 million in prizes. And that’s excluding the jackpot. However, it does include four additional $1 million prizes won locally.
Illinois residents looking for a big win have more chances at life-changing jackpots this week:
- The Powerball jackpot is $251 million on Wednesday (Sept. 21).
- The Mega Millions jackpot is, currently, $301 million for the next draw on Friday (Sept. 23)