Lotto players wait in line to purchase lottery tickets for the Mega Millions lottery at Lichines Liquor & Deli, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Lottery players will have the chance at winning an estimated $1.6 billion in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

$1.537 billion U.S. Mega Millions winning ticket sold in South Carolina

The winning ticket is worth about $877.8 million in a lump-sum cash payment

Lottery officials say someone bought a ticket in South Carolina to win the Mega Millions jackpot with a final total of $1.537 billion, just shy of the all-time world record.

The earlier Mega Millions estimate of $1.6 billion would have been a world record for lotteries, but actual sales came in just below the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot prize shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January of 2016.

The ticket sold Tuesday is worth about $877.8 million in a lump-sum cash payment, which most winners choose to take.

“The final total was less than the $1.6 billion estimate,” said Carol Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery, which leads a consortium of state lotteries participating in the Mega Millions jackpot.

“Estimates are based on historical patterns,” she explained Wednesday morning in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “The jackpot’s been rolling since it was hit in July in California, but there are few precedents for a jackpot of this size. Typically about 70 per cent of sales occur on the drawing day, so forecasting precise numbers in advance can be difficult. That’s why we always use the term estimate.”

READ MORE: Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

It’s possible the world will never know who bought the ticket in South Carolina that matches all six numbers in Tuesday night’s drawing.

South Carolina is one of eight states — along with Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas — where winners can remain anonymous.

A portion of the prize money will go to the retailer; the exact amount is determined by each state, Gentry said.

The biggest Mega Millions jackpot winner prior to this was a $656 million ticket sold back in 2012, she said, “so it’s a record for Mega Millions and it came very close to breaking the world record of all the jackpots.”

The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5. No details on where the winning ticket was sold were immediately available. But the lucky player overcame miserable odds: The chance of matching all six numbers and winning the top prize is 1 in 302.5 million.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

It will likely be days or even weeks before a winner steps forward to claim the prize.

READ MORE: Record-breaking $113 million Lotto Max jackpot up for grabs

Lottery officials and financial managers encourage people to take time to map out a strategy for investing their hundreds of millions of dollars, and winners must deal with security concerns befitting someone who suddenly is immensely wealthy. Depending on the state, winners have from 180 days to a year to claim their prize.

The Mega Millions jackpot grew so large because it had been nearly three months since a player had matched all six numbers and won the top prize. The last time that happened was July 24, when 11 co-workers from California won a $543 million prize.

Although Tuesday’s jackpot was extraordinarily large, it’s no fluke. It reflects a trend toward ever-growing lottery prizes due to changes in the game that worsened the odds with hopes that bigger jackpots would result in better sales.

Officials with the Powerball game were the first to make that move in October 2015 when changing the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292.2 million. Mega Millions followed suit in October 2017, resulting in the odds worsening from 1 in 259 million to 1 in 302.5 million.

While most attention has been on the Mega Millions game, Powerball also has been soaring. The estimated prize for Powerball’s annuity option in Wednesday night’s drawing is $620 million, with a cash prize of $354.3 million.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Getting your passport has been made easier

Government of Canada doubles number of locations where Canadians can get their passports

PHOTOS: Sr. girls Lakers score gold in home tournament

The tournament was held at H.J. Cody on Dec. 14 and 15

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake Christmas Market showcases home businesses

The Christmas Market was held on Dec. 16 at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre

Sylvan Lake moving towards greener future with Fogdog contract

At a recent meeting of Council it was decided to move forward with a contract with Fogdog Energy

PHOTOS: C.P. Blakely gets the circus treatment

The Flyin’ Bob Show has a week long residency to teach students various circus acts

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Most Read