$2.04 billion Powerball jackpot is now the largest prize in history—here are the top 5 so far (2023)

The $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot finally found a winner on Tuesday morning, after technical difficulties delayed the drawing that had been scheduled to take place on Monday.

The massive prize marked the fifth time in the past five years that a lottery jackpot has crossed the billion-dollar threshold — and this one was a world record.

The prize had been growing for more than three months. The odds of winning it were roughly one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.

Lottery winners choose between receiving their winnings in an annuity — with payments over 30 years — or the more popular option, a single lump sum payment in a smaller amount. (That's the option "Shark Tank" starKevin O'Leary says you should choose.) The pretax lump sum payment for Tuesday's winner would be $997.6 million.

The previous Powerball jackpot winner came from the $206.9 million August 3 drawing — not a bad haul, but it now pales in comparison to a prize that topped the previous record U.S. jackpot set in January 2016. That one was also a Powerball drawing that reached $1.586 billion and was split between three winning tickets.

Here's a look at the top lottery prizes ever won so far.

1. $2.04 billion (Powerball)

A single winning ticket for the record Powerball drawing was sold at a gas station and convenience store called Joe's Service Center in Altadena, California, a community located north of Los Angeles. While the business' owner received a $1 million bonus from Powerball for selling the winning ticket, the identity of the ticket's owner remains unknown.

California is not one of the U.S. states where lottery winners have the option of remaining anonymous, so the jackpot winner will eventually have to come forward and claim their winnings publicly. They'll have up to a year from the date of the winning draw to claim the prize, according to the rules of the California Lottery.

When they do come forward, they'll have to choose between the annuity option or the nearly $1 billion lump sum payment — which would likely result in a total tax bill of $369.1 million, based on the top federal tax rate of 37%.

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If the prize was taxed as income in California, the winner would be facing an additional state tax bill of more than $120 million. But California, along with Delaware, is one of just two states that don't tax lottery winnings like regular personal income — marking another stroke of luck for the winner.

2. $1.59 billion (Powerball)

This Powerball drawing from Jan. 13, 2016, for which three winning tickets were sold, held the record as history's biggest lottery prize for more than six years, until this week's Powerball drawing dropped it down a spot.

The winners — John and Lisa Robinson in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California — split the full prize, giving them the option of roughly $533 million before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million as the lump-sum payment.

The Robinsons' winning ticket was one of four they bought at a grocery store, they told NBC's TODAY show. They opted to take the lump sum. "We're not guaranteed tomorrow," says John.

Florida-based Smith and Kaltschmidt also picked the lump sum. At the time they planned to get massages, upgrade their truck and retire with the newfound wealth, according to NBC.

The Acostas remained anonymous for months after winning but released a statement saying they were thankful for the "rare gift that has been placed in our care."

3. $1.54 billion (Mega Millions)

The winner of this huge drawing in October 2018 also took their time to surface.

South Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows lottery winners to claim their prize anonymously. The ticket-holder — who never did make themselves known — finally claimed their winnings in March of the following year, just a little more than a month ahead of the deadline to come forward or risk forfeiting the prize.

The South Carolina Education Lottery Commission did reveal that the winner chose the cash option for their prize, taking a one-time payment of roughly $878 million. It's not a record jackpot, but that number still represents the biggest payout to a single lottery winner in U.S. history — at least for now.

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Based on the expected tax bill, the total haul from that jackpot was likely somewhere around $491.7 million, after both federal and state taxes — a 7 percent income tax in South Carolina, plus the 37 percent federal rate. Other taxes may have also applied.

4. $1.34 billion (Mega Millions)

The first billion-dollar jackpot of 2022 topped $1.3 billion before it found a winner in July.

The winning player, or players, bought the lucky ticket at Speedway convenience store in Des Plaines, Illinois — and opted to take the lump sum payment option of more than $780 million, according to Mega Millions.

Illinois allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, and whoever won this huge prize has chosen to remain unknown to the public.

5. $1.05 billion (Mega Millions)

The fifth-biggest U.S. lottery prize ever was won in a January 2021 Mega Millions drawing. The ticket was reportedly purchased by four members of a lottery club in the Detroit suburb of Novi. A lawyer representing the club claimed the prize for them in March 2021.

"A club member saw a sign that the jackpot was up to $1 billion and remembered that they hadn't bought their tickets yet, so they pulled into the Kroger," Kurt Panouses, the estate lawyer and club representative, told reporters on behalf of the winners last year.

"When you play, of course you dream of winning, but the reality of it has been incredible," he said. "This kind of money will impact the families of our club members for generations to come. We plan to stay humble and pay it forward through charitable giving in southeast Michigan."

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$2.04 billion Powerball jackpot is now the largest prize in history—here are the top 5 so far (2)


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What is the largest Powerball jackpot in history? ›

What are the 10 largest US lottery jackpots ever won?
  • $2.04 billion, Powerball, Nov. ...
  • $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. ...
  • $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. ...
  • $1.337 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022 (one ticket, from Illinois)
  • $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan.
Dec 27, 2022

Where was the winning ticket sold for the largest Powerball jackpot in history? ›

$2.04 billion

The largest lottery jackpot to date, a Powerball drawing, was won on Nov. 7, 2022. The ticket was sold at Joe's Service Center in Altadena, Calif., just north of Pasadena. Lottery officials said the ticket holder was the first lottery billionaire in the state.

What's the Powerball payout after taxes? ›

That's because when anyone wins the lottery, the IRS withholds 24% of the winnings off the top. With the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot, if the winner opted for the lump sum cash value of $997.6 million, they would be subject to federal income tax at the top tax rate, which is 37%.

Who won the billion dollar lottery? ›

The winners — John and Lisa Robinson in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California — split the full prize, giving them the option of roughly $533 million before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million as the lump-sum payment.

Do Powerball winners stay rich? ›

Life after winning the lottery may not stay glamorous forever. Whether they win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all that money in five years or less.

What state has the most Powerball winners? ›

More jackpot-winning tickets have been sold in Pennsylvania than in any other state, Powerball records show. A total of 18 winners have been recorded in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the most recent jackpot in early August worth $122.4 million.

Did anyone win the 1.6 billion Powerball? ›

CLEVELAND — Although nobody hit the gigantic $1.6 billion jackpot in the latest Powerball drawing that was held on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, the Ohio Lottery says there are still thousands of people taking home smaller amounts of prize money.

Did anyone win the $1.5 billion Powerball? ›

The jackpot ranks as the second-largest in Powerball history and third-largest in U.S. lottery history and could break lottery records by Saturday night amid a flurry of ticket-buying. The largest lottery payout ever was $1.586 billion, split between three winners in California, Florida and Tennessee.

What happens to people after they win the lottery? ›

Winnings are subject to federal and state income taxes. Most tangible prizes like cars and homes are taxed at their fair market value. Lottery winnings are taxed for the year in which they are collected, allowing winners who choose annuities to spread the tax bill.

Is it better to take lump-sum or annuity Powerball? ›

Choosing a lump-sum payout can help winners avoid long-term tax implications and also provides the opportunity to immediately invest in high-yield financial options like real estate and stocks. Electing a long-term annuity payout can have major tax benefits. Federal taxes reduce lottery winnings immediately.

How do I avoid paying taxes on prize winnings? ›

5 ways to avoid taxes on lottery winnings
  1. Consider lump-sum vs. annuity payments. ...
  2. Charitable donations. Donating some of the lottery money to charity will reduce your tax bill when you're a big winner. ...
  3. Gambling losses. ...
  4. Other deductions. ...
  5. Hire a tax professional.
Aug 25, 2022

Why is the lump-sum less than the jackpot? ›

When you take a lump-sum payment, it is less than the amount just reported as the jackpot. Taxes and discounts are taken out of the payment. You can take your winnings all at once or invest them on your own to help make more money later. Lotteries may have annuity payments.

Who is the most famous lottery winner? ›

His win of US$314.9 million in the Powerball multi-state lottery was, at the time, the largest jackpot ever won by a single winning ticket in the history of American lottery.
Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr.
Jack Whittaker
Known forWinning the Powerball in December 2002
2 more rows

What are the odds of winning a billion dollar lottery? ›

Result: 1 chance in 302,575,350 of winning. Or, in other words, odds of 302,575,349 to 1 against. A match of four of the main numbers is 325 times as likely.

Who won the Powerball 2023? ›

Did anyone win Powerball last night, Jan. 25, 2023? No one matched all six numbers to win the Powerball jackpot. No tickets matched all five numbers except for the Powerball worth $1 million.

How many people stay rich after winning the lottery? ›

Americans from all over are paying a few dollars for a chance to be a billionaire. But more often than not, lottery winners have a losing track record of hanging on to their winnings. Roughly 70 percent lose it all within five years, regardless of how much their luck earns them.

What is the first thing you should do if you win the lottery? ›

But before that happens, you need to make sure you secure your winnings.
  1. Be quiet about winning. ...
  2. Make copies of the ticket, secure it. ...
  3. Try to stay anonymous. ...
  4. Decide if you want to set up a trust. ...
  5. Sign your ticket. ...
  6. Annuity or lump sum. ...
  7. Be prepared for taxes. ...
  8. Plan for the future.
Nov 8, 2022

Should you move after winning the lottery? ›

Don't Make Major Changes in Your Life. If someone were to ask you what you would do once you become a Powerball winner, you might say, "quit my job" or "buy a mansion." However, experts suggest that you don't make any big moves immediately.

Which state has the lowest taxes on lottery winnings? ›

There are eight states that do not tax Powerball winnings: California, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming. Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Indiana and Ohio also make our list of best states. Take Our Poll: Do You Think Student Loan Debt Should Be Forgiven?

Where do people Win the lottery most? ›

The states with the most Powerball lottery winners are...

That would be Indiana. The Hoosier State boasts 39 jackpot wins since 1992, when Powerball got its start. Read on to see how your state stacks up! Keep in mind that five states don't have state lotteries: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.

What state has the best lottery? ›

Of the 45 that do, Massachusetts had the highest per capita lottery income in 2020, generating around $746 per resident. That's over 80% higher than the per capita income of the No. 2 state, neighboring New York ($412). All told, the top 18 states in terms of per capita lottery income are east of the Mississippi River.

Has anyone won the 120 million Powerball? ›

A New South Wales player and a Western Australian resident have shared Powerball's $120 million jackpot, taking home $63,309,056.98 each.

Who won the 1.7 billion dollar lottery? ›

A warehouse supervisor from Tennessee in the United States has been confirmed as one of the winners of the world's biggest ever lottery prize. John Robinson is taking a single lump sum of $328 million (£230 million), rather than annual payments which would total more than half a billion dollars. Tim Allman reports.

How do most Powerball winners win? ›

Quick Pick vs.

“With the data available, roughly 80% of Powerball jackpot-winning tickets are quick picks. The reason the percentage is so high is because the majority of purchases are quick picks. If the majority of players selected their own numbers, we would expect to see a higher percentage of manual picks.”

Who won 2. 04 billion lottery? ›

The winning ticket was sold at Joe's Service Center in Altadena, about 15 miles outside downtown Los Angeles, according to the California Lottery. The owner of the gas station and convenience store, Joseph Chahayed, was presented Tuesday with a $1 million check for selling the ticket.

Do most Powerball winners pick their own numbers? ›

So, is it better to play Quick Pick or to select your own numbers? Chances of winning the lotto between playing quick picks or selecting your own numbers are both equal. “Around 70 to 80 percent of Powerball players use Quick Pick tickets, and the same percentage of winning entries are Quick Picks,” one report said.

How much did 1.5 billion lottery winner take home? ›

If you take the lump sum option, there will be a federal tax of 24% on your winnings — about $143.2 million. You'd also owe more at tax time, another 13% or about $77.5 million, according to the USA Mega website, which would bring your total winnings to $375,958,045.

Do lottery winners get Social Security? ›

Your Social Security benefits will not be reduced as a result of winning the lottery, regardless of whether or not you have reached your full retirement age.

How do you stay anonymous after winning the lottery? ›

10 Largest U.S. Jackpots
  1. Buy your ticket in a state that doesn't require you to come forward. ...
  2. Don't tell anyone. ...
  3. Delete social media accounts (and change your phone number and address, too). ...
  4. Wear a disguise. ...
  5. Disconnect all phones. ...
  6. Get out of town. ...
  7. Set up an LLC or trust. ...
  8. Don't make any big purchases for a year.
Jan 14, 2023

How much tax would you pay if you won $1000000? ›

How much do I pay in taxes if I win 1,000,000? If your gross prize for lump sum payout is $1,000,000, you need to pay $334,072 in total tax ($240,000 federal withholding, plus the remaining $94,072 for single filing status in 2021).

Is it better to take cash or annuity lottery? ›

With an annuity you can spread your taxes out over a longer period of time rather than taking a big hit by accepting the lump-sum payment. As GOBankingRates reported, a winner who takes the cash option on the current mega Millions jackpot could end up with less than $707.9 million after the IRS gets its cut.

How do you give money to family after winning the lottery? ›

You can physically take cash out of the bank to give to your loved ones, or you can transfer funds into their accounts. Just know that these can also be subject to taxation depending on the amount. This allows your family or friends to do what they please with the money to fund personal expenses.

Is it wise to cash out an annuity? ›

If you take money out of an annuity, you may face a penalty or a surrender fee, also known as a withdrawal, or surrender charge. Annuity contracts include surrender charges to make up for the insurance company's loss if you choose to withdraw before they can earn interest on your principal.

What kind of trust is best for lottery winnings? ›

An irrevocable trust, however, gives you greater asset protection. They protect lottery winnings and investments because the assets legally do not belong to you, and they benefit your family, as they are not subject to estate taxes.

Does the IRS take money from lottery winnings? ›

The IRS will automatically take 24% of your winnings off the top, and the rest will be due at tax time. Around $17.82 million in federal income tax will be owed, per year, for each of the remaining 27 payments. That comes to a ballpark grand total of about $531.1 million in federal tax.

Can you win the lottery if you owe the IRS? ›

State lottery agencies are required to withhold 25 percent of your winnings for federal income taxes if the total prize minus your wager is more than $5,000. This 25-percent withholding rate applies to all taxpayers, regardless of whether back taxes are owed or not.

Why can't lottery winners remain anonymous? ›

According to Mega Millions, it all comes down to your state's public disclosure laws. Some are required to publicly identify winners while others are not.

Is it better to get lump sum or annuity? ›

How long you actually live is one of the more significant risks faced by retirees. The longer you live beyond your actuarial life expectancy, the better the annuity option generally becomes because of the guaranteed lifetime payment. If you are in poor health, you may find the lump sum more attractive.

Why do people always take lump sum in lottery? ›

A cash lump sum means accepting the entire payment all at once, while annuity means accepting a series of payments over time. It's more common for winners to take the lump sum, Blenner said, because it provides them with the freedom to invest as they wish with maximum available funds up front.

Who is the guy that won the lottery 7 times? ›

Richard Lustig was an American man who came to prominence for winning relatively large prizes in seven state-sponsored lottery games from 1993 to 2010. His prizes totaled over $1 million. He wrote Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.

How do lottery winners spend their money? ›

A history of past lottery winners shows a wide range of what players do with their winnings. Many have paid off debts, bought homes and invested their money, while others have put the cash toward building a water park, gambling in Atlantic City or starting a women's professional wrestling organization.

Has anyone won the lottery 2 times? ›

The jackpot's odds are 1 in 292.2 million. Double lottery wins like the one in Delaware are rare, but not unheard of. In 2021, the Florida Lottery reported that Susan Fitton, 64, had won $4 million from two Mega Millions tickets in the same drawing.

What percent of lottery winners go broke after 5 years? ›

Whether they win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all that money in five years or less.

Why is Powerball so hard to win? ›

Powerball is called a Pick-5+1 lottery, rather than a Pick-6. The bonus ball must be picked precisely. It can even be the same number as one of the white balls! All of this makes winning a jackpot far more difficult, while still keeping the appearance of a Pick-6.

How do you increase your odds of winning the Powerball? ›

Lottery is a game of chance and probability, so the best way to increase your odds of winning is to buy more tickets. If you have a 1 in 300 million chance of winning, buying a second ticket doubles your odds to 2 in 300 million, another to 3 in 300 million, and so on.

Did anyone win the Powerball today? ›

There was no jackpot winner in California for this draw. But there are 122,524 winning tickets! Get your ticket for the next draw.

What is the prize pool for Powerball? ›

NSW Lotteries: Rule 12 of the Powerball Rules.
Prize Pool Allocation.
Prize DivisionAllocation of Prize Pool
Division 1$20,000 per month, for 20 years, for up to four winners*
Division 2$5,000 per month, for 1 year, for up to four winners*
Division 32.20%
Division 42.00%
4 more rows

Did anyone win the Powerball on January 25th 2023? ›

The lucky numbers from the Wednesday night drawing are 9, 17, 20, 38, 40 with Powerball 18. CLEVELAND — Although nobody won the $526 million jackpot in the Powerball drawing for Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, the Ohio Lottery says there were thousands of other prizes hit throughout the state.

Did someone win the 700 million Powerball? ›

The jackpot grew quite a bit in the meantime, and, after 35 consecutive rounds without a grand prize winner, stood at an estimated $700 million for Wednesday night's drawing. The winning numbers Wednesday were 19, 36, 37, 46, 56, and a Powerball of 24. It was still unclear if any winning tickets were sold.

Who won the 700 million Powerball? ›

BRAINTREE, MA – Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee, MA is the sole winner of a $758.7 million Powerball jackpot after the numbers on her lucky ticket matched the first five winning numbers plus the Powerball (06-07-16-23-26, PB 04) selected in Wednesday night's drawing.

What are the 5 most common Powerball numbers? ›

There are some numbers that are drawn more frequently than others in Powerball. The five most frequently drawn numbers of all time are 32, 39, 22, 41, 36, and 16, according to the Powerball statistics tracking website Powerball.net.

Has anyone ever won the lottery twice? ›

The jackpot's odds are 1 in 292.2 million. Double lottery wins like the one in Delaware are rare, but not unheard of. In 2021, the Florida Lottery reported that Susan Fitton, 64, had won $4 million from two Mega Millions tickets in the same drawing.

Are more lottery winners quick picks? ›

When it comes to quick pick tickets, or the machine picking your numbers, the Multi-State Lottery Association said: “With the data available, roughly 80% of Powerball jackpot-winning tickets are quick picks. The reason the percentage is so high is because the majority of purchases are quick picks.

Who won the 300 million Powerball? ›

Julie Leach, 50, matched all of the winning numbers drawn in the Sept. 30 Powerball drawing: 21-39-40-55-59 and the Powerball, 17, to win the enormous jackpot.

Where did the last Powerball winner come from? ›

But the winner hasn't come forward yet. One lucky winner bought the nation's only matching Powerball ticket worth more than $2 billion at an Altadena gas station, becoming California's first billionaire-by-lottery, state lottery officials said Tuesday.

How can I increase my chances of winning the Powerball? ›

What Are Some Ways To Increase the Chance of Winning?
  1. Play the Odds. Not every lottery has astronomically low odds. ...
  2. Buy More Tickets. The obvious answer is often the best; this is a great example. ...
  3. Join a Lottery Pool. Technically, lottery pools are another way to buy more lottery tickets. ...
  4. Counter Other Strategies.

Is it better to take lump sum or payout Powerball? ›

Choosing a lump-sum payout can help winners avoid long-term tax implications and also provides the opportunity to immediately invest in high-yield financial options like real estate and stocks. Electing a long-term annuity payout can have major tax benefits. Federal taxes reduce lottery winnings immediately.

What states keep lottery winners secret? ›

Here's where you can remain anonymous:
  • Delaware.
  • Kansas: Winners in Kansas can request to remain anonymous.
  • Maryland: In most cases, winners can remain anonymous.
  • Mississippi: The state lottery won't identify a winner unless they have given written consent.
  • Montana: Your name is not released, but where you live may be.
Jan 7, 2023

What's the first thing I should do when I win the lottery? ›

Make copies of the ticket, secure it

Don't lose the ticket. State Farm says to make several copies of both sides of the ticket to show your lawyers and accountants. Then secure the actual ticket in a safe deposit box or personal safe. Once you've spoken to them, then sign the ticket.

Do most lottery winners take lump sum? ›

When you win the lottery jackpot, you're given a choice between a lump-sum payment or an annuity paid out over nearly three decades. Most lottery winners opt for a lump-sum prize. No one has chosen the annuity option since 2014, according to Axios.


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