Who will win this life-changing payout?
On January 10 it was reported that the Mega Millions lottery jackpot will increase to an incredible $1.1 billion (with cash option of $568.7 million) at the forthcoming draw on Friday January 13. This astonishing payout comes following a run of draws during which nobody successfully picked all six winning numbers. It makes the prize fund the third highest in Mega Millions history and means that a lucky ticketholder could stand to scoop the fifth-largest win in U.S. history!
The lure of potentially winning more than $1 billion has meant that some stores close to state borders like Miss Al’s Market in Moss Point, Miss. are seeing an increased number of people crossing state borders from Alabama (where the lottery isn't available) to buy Mega Millions tickets.
Store manager Shivangi Patel observed that many commuters are coming into the store from Mobile, Alabama. Patel is constantly refilling machines with more scratch-off ticket as people stopping by to play the lottery, also tend to spend money on other games:
“When the lottery gets higher, I see online games go better, and other times it’s scratch-offs".
Would you go public if you won?
Like many recent lottery winners in Florida, the lucky person who holds the winning ticket may choose to go public with their win.
However, Florida's state legislature passed a new bill in February (HB159) that gives winners the opportunity to opt out of publicity if they want to, so that their identity can be protected and they can avoid unwanted attention.
Similarly, in Michigan a group of publicity-shy prize winners recently identified a way to claim their prize and retain their anonymity. The winners claimed their prize as a registered lottery club in the state, which meant only one member of the club needed to be identified publicly to claim the prize. That person was the public-facing member of the club, but the identities of the rest of the members remained anonymous.
A life-changing win?
It's unfortunately common that lottery winners tend to spend their new-found wealth almost as quickly as it came to them. A study carried out by MIT found that Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American. It may just be that more modest, but life-changing wins are preferable and easier for the winner to manage, than multi-million dollar prizes.
Where is the luckiest place to buy tickets?
If a Florida-bought ticket were to win the inflated Mega Millions jackpot, it would be the continuation of good fortune that occurred in Florida in 2022. Last year saw multiple lottery players winning large prizes.
In May, a man from Miami won a $1.95 million prize in the Florida State Lottery.
In June, a man from Hillsborough County won a $1 million prize on a scratch-off ticket.
And in March 2022, a Lakeland man won a $5 million jackpot prize in a scratch-off game too.
There have been multiple other big lottery winners in the Sunshine State in 2022, but none matched the record prize win for a lottery player in Florida - a couple who scooped a $1.5 billion prize in the State Lottery.
How do I play Mega Millions?
A Mega Millions ticket costs $2 per play. You can add the Megaplier for $1, which will increase the amount of your potential prize up to five times the original prize (except for the jackpot).
Each player selects six numbers:
- Five numbers from 1 to 70 (white balls)
- One number from 1 to 25 (gold Mega Ball)
You may also choose to have the lottery machine generate a random Quick Pick.
Sadly, Mega Millions is not offered to citizens of Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah, but the lottery can be played in 45 other states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Do you play the lottery? What would you do if you won a life-changing sum of money? Let me know your thoughts on anything related to the lottery in the comments section below.
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