It is likely you have been living under a rock if you have not heard the news about the Powerball Lottery: the jackpot currently sits at $1.3 billion.
But before last night’s drawing failed to produce a winner in the 40-plus states that participate in the Powerball Lottery, the $900 million jackpot on Saturday night had already shattered records. If you don’t know the history of lottery jackpots in America, here is your brief breakdown of the largest jackpots in the history of our fair nation (before this week).
$656 Million (2012)
Back in 2012, people were going crazy for the Mega Millions when the jackpot became the then-largest in American history at more than $600 million, which seems small compared to the current $1.3 billion Powerball Lottery jackpot.
So, was it just one lucky winner, or was the jackpot split? The Associated Press reported winning tickets were sold in three states — Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland.
“The winners will earn $213 million before taxes,” the AP‘s Jim Suhr reported at the time.
Much like the frenzy that has been surrounding the Powerball Lottery’s $1.3 billion jackpot, the AP reported excitement, but also dashed dreams once it was announced the jackpot had been won.
“As the jackpot got bigger by the hour on Thursday and Friday, Americans had snapped up tickets while dreaming of quitting jobs, paying off debts, building hospitals, buying an island. On Saturday, they took to Twitter and Facebook to bemoan their lost, razor-thin chance at millions.”
$648 Million (2013)
It wasn’t much longer until Americans had another chance to dream big, again seeing the Mega Millions jackpot balloon to more than $600 million almost two years later. The prize was split between winners in California and Georgia, ABC News reported.
“The two grand prize winners will share the jackpot, which could grow closer to $645 million, Virginia lottery director Paula Otto told ABC News. The exact size of the jackpot will be available later today once sales figures are compiled.
“The $636 million jackpot grew from a modest $12 million prize in October. Twenty-one winless drawings later, it became the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, according to lottery officials.”
$590 Million (2013)
The winner of the last record-breaking Powerball Lottery jackpot was none other than Gloria Mackenzie, an 84-year-old woman who took the one-time payment of $370.9 million (pre-tax), CNN reports.
“While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket,” CNN reports Mackenzie said.
As for how she planned to spend the massive payday, she didn’t say, but claimed her winnings with her son at her side.
$587 Million (2012)
The Powerball Lottery had its third-highest jackpot in November, 2012, when winners purchased winning tickets in Missouri and Arizona.
CNN reported the winner in Arizona claimed his nearly $200 million share of the prize while remaining anonymous.
“We are extremely grateful and feel fortunate to now have an increased ability to support our charities and causes. Obviously, this has been incredibly overwhelming, and we have always cherished our privacy,” the unidentified winner said through a statement.
Maryland, Arizona, and Kansas are among a handful of states to allow winners to claim their tickets while remaining anonymous, though many readers have undoubtedly seen Powerball Lottery and Mega Millions winners standing with their oversized checks basking in the glory of winning.
As for Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot of $1.3 billion, it is unknown how much a one time payout would be, though Reuters noted that Saturday’s $900 million jackpot would have paid out a total of $558 million instead of yearly payments.
What would you do? Would you take the one-time payout or the installment payments over 30 years? Tell us in the comments section below.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]