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Lottery jackpot records have always attracted the attention of lottery analysts and players.
It is generally considered that Spain's Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad (Spanish Christmas Lottery) is the world's largest lottery and has the largest first prize jackpot. In 2012, the main jackpot was €720 million (US$941.8 million). The total prize pool in 2012 was €2.52 billion (US$3.297 billion). (Using a 13 December 2012 exchange of €1 = US$1.308.)
The tickets for this lottery have pre-printed 5-digit numbers, with each set of numbers sold multiple times in several so-called series. For example, a ticket with the number "00001" was printed 180 times under different series numbers. This results in the jackpot always being split across multiple winners. The 2011 main jackpot of €720 million was paid out as €4 million (US$5.2 million) to each of the 180 tickets with the number 58268.
All lottery winnings are subject to Federal taxation (automatically reported to the IRS if the win is at least $600); many smaller jurisdictions also levy taxes. The IRS requires a minimum withholding of 25% of the prize (minus the wager) of any gambling win in excess of $5,000. However, the net for a major jackpot winner often is misleading; winners often pay additional to the IRS when they file their returns.
All lump-sum prizes listed below are reported as the pre-withholdings amount, as this is income the player "earned" and must report on their returns to be subject to taxation. Jackpot amounts are reported as the advertised annuity.
For various reasons, an annuity jackpot can have a higher cash value than a larger annuity with a lower cash value, as seen below.
|Rank||Jackpot (annuity value)||Game||Date||# of winning tickets||Where||Notes|
|1||$656 million||Mega Millions||30 March 2012||3||KS, IL, MD||Largest cash payout in world history; $474 million.|
|2||$648 million||Mega Millions||17 December 2013||2||CA, GA||Cash value $347.6 million|
|3||$590.5 million||Powerball||18 May 2013||1||FL||Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills. World record for any lottery prize; 3rd largest cash prize at $370.9 million.|
|4||$587.5 million||Powerball||28 November 2012||2||AZ, MO||Cash value $384.7 million, 2nd largest in US lottery history|
|5||$448 million||Powerball||7 August 2013||3||MN; NJ(2)||Cash payout $258 million; 4th in US lottery history.|
|6||$425.3 million||Powerball||19 February 2014||1||CA||Cash value $242.2 million|
|7||$414 million||Mega Millions||18 March 2014||2||FL, MD||Cash value $230.9 million|
|8||$399.4 million||Powerball||18 September 2013||1||SC||Cash value $223 million. Winner remained anonymous under SCEL regulations; also not released was whether the winner chose cash or annuity.|
|9||$390 million||Mega Millions||6 March 2007||2||GA, NJ||Cash jackpot $233.1 million; 7th in US lottery history|
|10||$380 million||Mega Millions||4 January 2011||2||ID, WA||Cash payout $240 million; 6th among US lotteries|
|11||$365 million||Powerball||18 February 2006||1||NE||$177 million cash; 8th among US lotteries|
|12||$363 million||The Big Game||9 May 2000||2||IL, MI||The Big Game became Mega Millions two years later|
|13||$340 million||Powerball||19 October 2005||1||OR||$164 million cash split by 2 families|
|14||$338 million||Powerball||23 March 2013||1||NJ||$152 million cash|
|15||$337 million||Powerball||15 August 2012||1||MI||Cash option chosen; $223.7 million|
|16||$336 million||Powerball||11 February 2012||1||RI||Cash: $210 million|
|17||$333 million||Mega Millions||28 August 2009||2||CA, NY|
|18||$331 million||The Big Game||16 April 2002||3||GA, IL, NJ||The Big Game became Mega Millions one month later|
|19||$330 million||Mega Millions||31 August 2007||4||NJ, MD, TX, VA|
|20||$319 million||Mega Millions||25 March 2011||1||NY|
|21||$315 million||Mega Millions||15 November 2005||1||CA||Cash payout of $175 million chosen by a group called "The Lucky 7."|
|22||$314.9 million||Powerball||25 December 2002||1||WV||Cash payout of $170,505,876. Winner: Jack Whittaker|
|23||$314.3 million||Powerball||25 August 2007||1||IN||Cash payout: $146,985,099|
Unlike in the United States, where lottery wins are taxed, European jackpots are generally tax-free (the lotteries themselves are taxed in other ways) and jackpots are paid in a lump sum. For example, in the United Kingdom's National Lottery, wagers are split between the game operator Camelot Group and the government, with Camelot distributing some of the money for prizes, some for operating costs, a small amount (about 0.5 penny of each ₤1) for profit, some into their 'good causes' programme, with the remainder going to the government as tax; VAT however, is not due.