Lottery jackpot records

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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.[1]

United States[edit]

All lottery winnings are subject to Federal taxation (automatically reported to the Internal Revenue Service 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. U.S. lotto winners[2] are taxed at the highest percentage; any winnings above $600.00 are taxed at 30%.

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. Examples include the annuity structure of various games: while Mega Millions' and Powerball's annuity option each are 30 annual payments, Mega Millions' annuity payments increase 5 percent yearly, while Powerball's increase 4 percent yearly; this makes the Mega Millions' annuity structure slightly more "inflated".

List of U.S. jackpots of at least $300 million annuity value
RankJackpotGameDate# of winning ticketsWhere soldNotes
1$656 millionMega Millions30 March 20123KS, IL, MDLargest cash payout in world history; $474 million.
2$648 millionMega Millions17 December 20132CA, GACash value $347.6 million
3$590.5 millionPowerball18 May 20131FLGloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills. World record for lottery prize; 4th largest cash value ($370.9 million)
4$587.5 millionPowerball28 November 20122AZ, MOCash value $384.7 million, 2nd largest in US lottery history
5$564.1 millionPowerball11 Feb 20153NC, PR, TX,Largest jackpot since 2013. Thirty-six other $1 million + winners for $381 millions cash value (3rd largest cash value).[3]
6$448 millionPowerball7 August 20133MN; NJ(2)Cash payout $258 million; 4th in US lottery history.
7$425.3 millionPowerball19 February 20141CACash value $242.2 million
8$414 millionMega Millions18 March 20142FL, MDCash value $230.9 million
9$399.4 millionPowerball18 September 20131SCCash value $223 million. Winner remained anonymous under SCEL regulations; also not released was whether the winner chose cash or annuity.
10$390 millionMega Millions6 March 20072GA, NJCash jackpot $233.1 million; 7th in US lottery history
11$380 millionMega Millions4 January 20112ID, WACash payout $240 million; 6th among US lotteries
12$365 millionPowerball18 February 20061NE$177 million cash; 8th among US lotteries
13$363 millionThe Big Game9 May 20002IL, MIThe Big Game became Mega Millions two years later
14$340 millionPowerball19 October 20051OR[4]$164 million cash split by 2 families[5]
15$338 millionPowerball23 March 20131NJ$152 million cash
16$337 millionPowerball15 August 20121MICash option chosen; $223.7 million
17$336 millionPowerball11 February 20121RICash: $210 million
18$333 millionMega Millions28 August 20092CA, NY
19$331 millionThe Big Game16 April 20023GA, IL, NJThe Big Game became Mega Millions one month later
20$330 millionMega Millions31 August 20074NJ, MD, TX, VA
21$326 millionMega Millions4 November 20141NYMiddletown (Orange County)
22$319 millionMega Millions25 March 20111NY
23$315 millionMega Millions15 November 20051CACash payout of $175 million chosen by a group called "The Lucky 7."[6]
24$314.9 millionPowerball25 December 20021WVCash payout of $170,505,876. Winner: Jack Whittaker[7]
25$314.3 millionPowerball25 August 20071INCash 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.[8]

Examples of largest jackpots in specific European lotteries