$1.34 Billion Lottery Prize Remains Unclaimed


Photo courtesy of Florida Today

Alexis Hornsby

1.34 billion dollars is still awaiting distribution from the July 29, 2022, Mega Millions lottery drawing. The lucky winner has not claimed their winnings as of August 30, 2022. Since this is the second biggest single winning ticket in the Mega Millions lottery history, the situation is getting national attention. 


According to National Public Radio, the unknown prize winner beat 1 in 302.5 million odds when they purchased the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket on July 29, 2022 at a Speedway gas station northwest of Chicago. The Mega Millions lottery is sold in all but five states  – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. But, residents of those states can purchase a ticket elsewhere, so the winner may not be an Illinois resident. The lottery ticket winner must return to Illinois, the state of purchase, to redeem the ticket.  According to Sarah O’Brien with CNBC News, It’s worth noting that the Illinois Lottery allows winners of prizes worth $250,000 or more to remain anonymous.”


The lottery winner can afford to wait to claim their prize and get their estate planning affairs in order. Under the Illinois Lottery’s posted game rules, a winner must claim the prize within a year. As reported by NBC News, Illinois Lottery spokesperson Megan Power noted that, “[f]or a prize of this magnitude, it’s not unusual for a winner to take a little bit longer to claim the prize as they may want to seek professional, legal and financial advice prior to claiming.” 


Nevertheless, if the winner wants the option to receive the winnings in a reduced one-time lump sum payment of $602.5 million instead of the default 30-year annuity option, they need to come forward quickly. According to CNBC, Illinois’ 60-day deadline for the winner to select the lump sum option –  September 27, 2022 – is quickly approaching. Notably, winners of large prizes often choose the lump sum option.


As posted on the Illinois Lottery website’s game rules, to win the Mega Millions lottery, one must buy a ticket for $2 and pick six numbers. The first five numbers must be from 1 to 70, and the Mega Ball final number must be between 1 and 25. Players can either choose their numbers or have them randomly selected for them (“Quick Pick” or “Easy Pick”). Matching all six numbers to the numbers drawn wins the jackpot, which is split evenly between all winning jackpot tickets.