MEGA MILLIONS Jackpot Tops the 1 Billion Dollar Mark for The Third Time in US Lotto History

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All eyes are on the Mega Millions™ lottery jackpot this coming Friday the 29th of July, as the jackpot tops the billion-dollar mark and is estimated to settle at around $1.025 billion. It will be only the third time in Mega Millions history that the winnings have surpassed this milestone.

The last time such a big amount was won, it was split by four Michigan residents (on one ticket) on the 22nd of January 2021. But, the largest prize to date was won by a single South Carolina ticket on the 23rd of October 2018. The lucky lottery winner landed a whopping $1.537 billion all to themselves.

How We got to the Billion with Mega Millions™

There have been 29 consecutive prize draws with no jackpot winner, which has allowed the pot to roll over and build to the point where we’re wondering if they should rename the draw “Mega Billions” this week!

The Tuesday draw saw the pot reach a staggering $865 million, but no one managed to match the six winning numbers needed to claim the ultimate reward. As a result, ticket purchases have been coming in fast and furious in anticipation of the new mammoth top prize, which of course, has been a catalyst for the rapid growth of the pot. However, it’s not only the players who look forward to the lotto draw on Friday night. Lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium, Pat McDonald, commented:

“Seeing the jackpot build over a period of months and reaching the billion-dollar mark is truly breathtaking. We encourage customers to keep play in balance and enjoy the ride. Someone is going to win.”

Tuesday didn’t leave players empty-handed though. In fact, nine tickets managed to match the first five numbers. Eight of the nine scooped up $1 million in prize money each, while 1 managed to collect $3 million from the match. The ninth opted to play the Megaplier for an extra $1, resulting in a triple the money prize.

Should one player match all 6 numbers, they’ll become an instant billionaire if they opt to accept the annuity repayment option. In this case, the sum of the full jackpot is paid out annually over the next 30 years. That works out to an approximate payout of $34 million per year. Otherwise, the lucky winner can opt to settle for the cash jackpot sum of approximately $602 million. This will, of course, be deposited into their bank account as a lump sum.

Top 10 Mega MillionsJackpots to Date

Amount Date Won No. of Tickets
$1.537 billion 23 Oct 2018 1
$1.050 billion 22 Jan 2021 1 (split amongst 4)
$1.025 billion (est) Not Won Yet TBC
$656 million 30 Mar 2012 3
$648 million 17 Dec 2013 2
$543 million 24 Jul 2018 1
$536 million 8 Jul 2016 1
$533 million 30 Mar 2018 1
$522 million 7 June 2019 1
$516 million 21 May 2021 1


If left alone again on Friday, this current jackpot will most certainly leapfrog past last year’s $1.050 billion prize and start closing the gap on the world record big win. If history serves us, the law of averages dictates that the pot will be won by a single ticket, yet surely a prize this big would prove a sufficient haul for multiple ticket holders. Let’s hold thumbs that it goes to a generous and deserving winner.


Sean van der Merwe

Sean is a senior writer at PokCas. He is an Entertainment, Gaming & Cryptocurrency News Reporter. He has more than 5 years of full-time writing experience.