Only one ticket matched the five numbers and Mega Ball required to win the Mega Millions jackpot, meaning that one lucky California player will pocket around half a billion dollars before taxes, Yahoo News reports.
The advertised jackpot for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing was $530 million, after several draws where no one matched the winning combination and the jackpot rolled over. Though it’s not quite at the level of the biggest lottery jackpots ever in the U.S. (the billion-dollar mark has been exceeded before), half a billion is still a considerable amount of money.
And at the at Sorrento Deli Mart in San Diego, the winning ticket with the numbers 17-19-27-40-68, Mega Ball 2, was sold. And since that ticket was the only ticket to correctly pick the combination required to win the jackpot, one lucky winner will take home all of that money.
A lot of it, anyway. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, in most cases, winners of huge lottery jackpots like the Mega Millions or its companion, Powerball, will have to make a decision. They can take the “annuity” option, which is the advertised jackpot paid out of the course of 20 or more years. Or they can take the “cash” option, which is a portion of the value of the advertised jackpot paid all at once in a lump sum. In this particular case, the value of the cash option is $345.2 million.
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Of course, the value of the jackpot, whether taken via annuity or lump sum, doesn’t reveal the actual amount of money the winner will take home. Taxes will eat up the winner’s final payout regardless of which route they take. Putting aside some nuance, whoever issues their check will automatically withhold 24 percent for federal taxes, and that’s just a starting point. The top marginal tax rate is 37 percent, and Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are pretty top-flight money, so they’ll likely wind up kissing at least a third of the money goodbye before they even see it. And of course, this paragraph doesn’t even take into consideration state taxes.
Lottery jackpots approaching or even exceeding ten figures are becoming more and more frequent these days, after both Powerball and Mega Millions changed their formats to make the odds longer, and the jackpots bigger. According to San Francisco’s KGO-TV, the largest single-winner Powerball jackpot ever was $768.4 million, and the largest single-winner Mega Millions jackpot was $656 million. The largest-ever advertised lottery jackpot in the U.S. was $1.59 billion, according to CNBC. That jackpot was shared by multiple winners.