By Tyler St.Clair
The lottery began to make its way into the United States in the early 1960’s when New Hampshire started the first lottery system in the US. With an estimated 183 million people currently playing the lottery every year, the lottery is close to an $80 billion a year industry in the United States alone, the average American spending $223 a year on lottery tickets. With everything from scratcher tickets to the big jackpot drawings, there is something for everyone if you are willing to risk a small amount of money in hopes of winning millions.
There are many large jackpot games that offer a variety of prizes. The two most popular, and largest jackpot, nationwide games in the United States are the Powerball and the Mega Millions. Other draw games offered include Pick 3, Pick 4, Cash 5, Bank a Million, and Cash 4 Life, each offering their own unique way to win big.
Over the years, the biggest nationwide games, the Powerball and the Mega Millions, have reached astronomical jackpots well into the hundreds of millions of dollars and even some over one billion dollars. These 10 jackpots, if won by a single person, would allow anyone at any age to never work a day in their life.
10. $559.7 million Powerball jackpot
This Powerball jackpot was won on January 6th, 2018 by a single ticket holder in New Hampshire.
9. $564 million Powerball jackpot
This Powerball jackpot was won by three separate people from three very different places; one winner was in North Carolina, one in Texas, and the final winner was in Puerto Rico. These three winners split the jackpot in February of 2015.
8. $587.5 million Powerball jackpot
Two lucky people split this jackpot back in November of 2012. The winners were from Missouri and the other was from Arizona.
7. $590.5 million Powerball jackpot
This huge jackpot was won by a single ticket holder from Florida. This drawing took place in May of 2013.
6. $648 million Mega Millions jackpot
The first of the Mega Millions jackpots on this list was won by two ticket holders; one from Georgia and the other from California. This jackpot was won in December of 2013.
5. $656 million Mega Millions jackpot
This March of 2012 jackpot was won by five separate ticket holders. One was from Illinois, one from Kansas, and the last three were all from Maryland, referring to themselves as “The Three Amigos.”
4. Estimated $750 million Powerball jackpot (current jackpot)
As of March 26th, 2019 no one has won this Powerball jackpot, and if no one wins at the next drawing on March 27th, this jackpot will continue to grow, possibly hitting the one billion dollar mark and moving its way up the largest jackpot list.
Update: After the drawing happened the night of the 27th, there was one ticket holder that won the jackpot from Wisconsin. After the night full of last minute ticket sales, the jackpot was bumped up to $768.4 million, making it the third largest jackpot ever won.
3. $758.7 million Powerball jackpot
Back in August of 2017, a single winner in Massachusetts cashed in on this Powerball jackpot.
2. $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot
This Mega Millions jackpot is one of only two jackpots that have ever reached the one billion dollar mark. In October of 2018 a single ticket holder from South Carolina won the entire jackpot. Making this the highest jackpot to ever be won by a single person.
1. $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot
The second of the two jackpots over one billion dollars is this Powerball jackpot won in January of 2016. Three separate ticket holders from all over the country split this astronomical jackpot; one in Tennessee, one in California, and one in Florida.
When huge jackpots begin to build up and get higher and higher, they have everyone daydreaming about what they would do with all of that money if they won it, how they would go about quitting their job and what they would splurge on right away. People create pots at work, in friend groups, or with family members to put massive amounts of money into more chances to win and make a pact to split it evenly amongst everyone in the pot.
Whether you play the lottery religiously, buy scratchers for gifts, or just decide to test your luck every once in a while, there is no doubt that when jackpots like these come around everyone will be spending their two dollars to get a small chance at winning the jackpot of a lifetime.