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Big winner: $1.337 billion Mega Millions ticket sold in Chicago area

From buying a private island to helping their communities, Mega Millions players in Brooklyn share what they would do with a billion-dollar-plus jackpot. (Video: Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)
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A winning Mega Millions ticket for the estimated $1.337 billion jackpot was sold in Illinois, a Mega Millions spokesperson told The Washington Post on Saturday morning.

Marie Kilbane, a spokesperson for the Ohio Lottery Commission, confirmed the victory in an email to The Post.

“There is one jackpot-winning ticket, which was sold in Illinois,” she said.

Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, the current lead director of the Mega Millions consortium, congratulated the winner in Illinois, who has yet to put in a claim.

“We are thrilled to have witnessed one of the biggest jackpot wins in Mega Millions history,” McDonald said in a news release. “We’re eager to find out who won and look forward to congratulating the winner soon!”

The estimated jackpot increased on Saturday from $1.28 billion to $1.337 billion. The lump-sum payout for the jackpot is $780.5 million, according to Mega Millions.

“The final value was higher than the estimate based on actual sales,” Mega Millions said in a news release.

The winning ticket was purchased at the Speedy Café Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Ill., a suburb northwest of Chicago, according to the Illinois Lottery.

It’s unclear whether the person with the winning ticket will be identified. The Illinois Lottery states that players who win prizes of $250,000 or more can “submit a written request on the Illinois Lottery Claim form to keep your name and city of residence confidential from public disclosure.”

The grand prize had passed $1 billion for the third time in the game’s 20-year history, generating massive interest across the country.

The Mega Millions website lists Tuesday’s estimated jackpot at $20 million.

Friday night’s winning numbers were 13, 36, 45, 57, 67 and a Mega Ball of 14. The Mega Millions website was inaccessible because of a “high volume of traffic” shortly after the 11 p.m. drawing.

In addition to the ticket in Illinois matching all six numbers, there were 26 tickets that matched five numbers to win the game’s second-tier prizes, according to Mega Millions. Six of those tickets included the winning Mega Ball, resulting in $2 million each, while the other 20 winning tickets took home $1 million each, Mega Millions said in a news release. Those 26 tickets were sold across 17 states. Five of the 26 tickets in this group were sold in Florida.

The Mega Millions jackpot is $1.2 billion. Here’s what people would do with it.

The amount reached near-record status late this week because 29 consecutive draws came and went without a winner matching all six numbers. The previous winner came from a ticket sold in Tennessee during the April 15 drawing, which featured a jackpot of $20 million.

While one player in California matched five numbers last Tuesday, the person did not match the Mega number. That player fell short of the $830 million jackpot but still took home $2.9 million for matching five numbers, according to the California Lottery.

Friday’s drawing was the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history. In October 2018, the biggest single-ticket prize in Mega Millions’ history, $1.537 billion, was drawn by a player in South Carolina. The lump-sum payout for that winner was $878 million, CBS News reported. That winner remained anonymous.

This week’s jackpot surpassed last year’s $1.05 billion Mega Millions prize, which was won by a single ticket shared by four members of a suburban Detroit lottery club. Like the South Carolina player, the Michigan group has remained anonymous.

While big-money winners of lotteries past have spent their bounties on homes, paid off debts and helped their communities, the good fortunes of some have turned into bad luck for others, whose wealth would lead them to ruin.

As Mega Millions hits $1 billion, winning doesn’t mean a happy ending

Mega Millions is played in 45 states plus D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The tickets cost $2 each and can be bought before the 11 p.m. drawing. The individual state lotteries listed on the Mega Millions website show prospective players where they can purchase their tickets.

The only states where people can’t play Mega Millions are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

Mega Millions or mama’s money, here’s how to manage a windfall

The odds of winning Mega Millions are roughly 1 in 303 million. In fact, The Post reported this week that a person is 70 times more likely to be killed by a shark than to take this week’s potential windfall. If that’s not enough, a person is at least 216 times more likely to be struck by lightning this year than win the Mega Millions jackpot.

A quiz about your lousy chances of winning Mega Millions

The more people play Mega Millions, the higher the chance that someone will win, Mark Glickman, a senior lecturer on statistics at Harvard University, told The Post this week.

“Once the pot gets up to this range, there are enough people playing that odds are someone is going to pick the right number,” Glickman said.

McDonald, the Mega Millions leader, agreed: “Someone is going to win.”

And one person in Illinois did just that.

Bonnie Berkowitz and Shelly Tan contributed to this report.

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