The whopping $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot that sent almost all eligible purchasers to their local gas stations and 7-Elevens to buy a lottery ticket is still unclaimed, as the owner of the winning ticket has yet to come forward, ABC News reported.
After several drawings resulting in no winners, the largest jackpot in U.S. history finally had a recipient after the winning numbers were announced on October 23, beating odds Business Insider reported were 1 in 303 million.
The winning ticket was sold at KC Mart #7 in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and matched all six numbers drawn–5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Megaball 5. After three weeks, however, the state’s first Mega Millions jackpot winner has remained silent.
“We have not heard that the winner in South Carolina has come forward,” Seth Elkin, a spokesperson for Maryland Lottery and Gaming, told ABC News.
After the drawing, chief operating officer with the South Carolina Education Lottery Tony Cooper urged the winner to sign the back of the lottery ticket and seek counsel from a financial advisor while keeping the coveted piece of paper in a safe place.
The winner’s identity is a complete mystery, and by law is allowed to remain that way–in South Carolina as well as Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas, lottery winners are permitted to remain anonymous if he or she wishes.
Lottery participants have two options when they hold the winning ticket. They are either allowed to choose the annuity to receive the jackpot amount over the course of 30 years or take a one-time, lump-sum payment equivalent to all the cash in the prize pool. In the case of the anonymous South Carolinian, his or her lump sum would total to approximately $878 million.
Only 1 ticket matched all six numbers in the U.S. Mega Millions lottery for a jackpot of $1.537 billion, an official says. It was sold in Simpsonville, South Carolina at a KC Mart convenience store – Reuters
— Connor Ryan (@connortryan) October 25, 2018
And while it may seem absurd to wait three weeks to claim a life-changing amount of money, the winner is allowed to wait even longer. According to lottery officials, the jackpot recipient has 180 days to come forward and claim his or her prize, meaning the $1.5 billion winner has until April 21.
The scene outside the KC Mart in Simpsonville. This is the very definition of a country store. On a little two lane road. Nothing but homes nearby. No other stores in sight. $1.5 billion lottery ticket sold here last night. pic.twitter.com/dXTmkjVsUw
— Greg Suskin (@GSuskinWSOC9) October 24, 2018
USA Today reported last month that KC Mart owner CJ Patel said he had no knowledge of who purchased the winning ticket. Stores that sell the winning ticket are entitled to a 1 percent value of the proceeds, and Patel will receive the maximum share of $50,000, which he said he will share with his four employees.
According to the Daily Mail, after the April 21 deadline, the jackpot will be distributed back to each participating state, getting back the money they each respectively contributed. States are allowed to use their unclaimed lottery prizes differently, the Mega Millions website said.