After 29 consecutive Mega Millions drawings, the jackpot rose to a whopping $1.3 billion.
It’s the second-largest jackpot in the 20-year history of the lottery game.
But on July 29, a winning ticket was finally purchased at a Speedway in Des Plaines, located just 15 miles northwest of Chicago.
This news will no doubt prompt a few (many) to buy some Illinois Lottery tickets for the next jackpot.
The retailer will cash in, too, as it’s now in line to receive a $500,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, according to Mega Millions officials who held a news conference on Saturday after the winning drawing on Friday night.
Odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million. And the lucky numbers on the golden ticket were 13-36-45-57-67 and the Mega Ball was 14.
The only Mega Millions jackpot bigger than the Des Plaines winner was a $1.5 billion ticket in South Carolina in 2018. It’s the third-biggest lottery prize in the nation.
Tickets are available for purchase in 45 states, plus Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands.
The lucky player who purchased the winning ticket hasn’t claimed their prize yet, and they have one year to do so. They then have 60 days to decide if they’d like to opt for a cash prize.
Even when the winner does come forward, we may never learn about them. The Illinois Lottery allows winners of $250,000 or more to remain anonymous if they so choose. The Land of Lincoln is one of 17 states to offer anonymity to its big winners.
Does Illinois receive any of the prize money?
The state will take $26 million of the recent Mega Millions winnings and it will be used to help fund K-12 public schools across the Prairie State. Each time an Illinois Lottery ticket is purchased, a little less than 25% of the total goes to funding education.
Last year, that total was $731 million and since 1985, more than $21 billion has been given to schools through the lottery.
Here’s the breakdown of how big-money wins like Mega Millions are spread around the state:
- 67% paid to the winner
- 23% transferred to the common school fund, capital projects fund, and specialty tickets
- 5% paid to the retailer who sold the ticket
- 5% for the Illinois Lottery for various expenses including operations
How to play Mega Millions in Illinois and other lottery games
There are multiple game types available for Illinois Lottery players. You can purchase tickets at many retail locations across the state and online.
Games available for online and mobile play are:
- Mega Millions
- Lucky Day Lotto
- Pick 3
- Pick 4
- Fast Play