A single ticket-holder in Maine won an estimated $1.35 billion in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday night.
The identity of the winner was not yet publicly known — and might never be — but he or she joins a lucky few who beat nearly impossible odds to win one of the biggest jackpots in U.S. history. The winning numbers were 30, 43, 45, 46 and 61, and the gold Mega Ball was 14.
Huge jackpots have become increasingly common in the multistate Mega Millions and Powerball drawings.
Since 2016, six lottery jackpots — split between Mega Millions and its competing lottery, Powerball — in the United States have surpassed $1 billion, including three in the past year.
This week, the Mega Millions jackpot once again reached 10 figures, a breathtaking figure even after taxes.
After no winner in the previous 25 drawings, someone had a winning ticket for Friday night’s drawing. The jackpot offered a prize of roughly $1.35 billion, paid out over 30 years, with a cash option of $724.6 million if the winner chooses to be paid in one lump sum.
The jackpot in Friday night’s drawing was the fourth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history, and the second-largest Mega Millions prize.
The first thing winners should do, according to experts, is seek advice from a lawyer, a financial adviser and an accountant. And winners should research the professionals they turn to for help, checking the status of their licenses and getting references. (Those resources are online.)
States oversee lottery operations and have different rules for how winnings are taxed and whether the names of the winners must be made public. It was not immediately clear what Maine’s rules are about making a winner public. In Maine, winners have up to one year from when the jackpot numbers are drawn to claim their prize.
The winning ticket was sold at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine, according to state lottery officials.
Over the years, changes to the games and higher ticket prices have led to bigger jackpots. The starting prize for the Powerball jackpot doubled in 2012, to $40 million from $20 million, with a new ticket price of $2. In 2015, the matrix of the Powerball changed when the range of numbers to pick from increased to one to 69 from one to 59 for the first five numbers, and the Powerball number options changed to one to 26 from one to 35.
The Mega Millions in 2017 increased its starting jackpot to $40 million from $15 million, and raised the ticket price to $2 from $1.
Mike Ives contributed reporting.