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$1 Billion Lottery Prize Ticket Was Sold in Michigan

An unidentified person bought the Mega Millions ticket at a grocery store in Novi, Mich. It was the third-biggest jackpot in U.S. history.

  • Jan. 23, 2021

The winning ticket for a $1 billion jackpot, the third-biggest lottery prize in U.S. history, was sold at a Michigan grocery store, according to state lottery officials.

The winning numbers, which were drawn on Friday night, were picked by a customer at a Kroger grocery store in Novi, a city of about 60,000 people that is 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

State lottery officials said the identity of the winner will not be known until the person contacts them. Michigan law requires that winners of games played across states, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, be publicly identified, said Jake Harris, a spokesman for the state lottery.

The winner can choose to collect the prize through an initial payment and then annual payments for 29 years, or receive a one-time cash payment of about $739 million. In that case, the winner would get about $530 million, after taxes, state lottery officials said.

If the winner chose an annual payout, the initial payment would be about $11.3 million after taxes, with payments increasing 5 percent every year. The final payment would be about $46.7 million after taxes, Mr. Harris said.

The odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 302,575,350, according to Mega Millions. The winning numbers in the Mega Millions lottery were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball number of 24.

The numbers were picked two days after the numbers were selected for a winning ticket in a $731 million Powerball jackpot, which was sold in Lonaconing, Md., a down-on-its-luck former mining town in the virus-battered northwestern corner of the state. The winning ticket was sold at Coney Market, a convenience store that sells subs and pizza in Lonaconing, a town of about 1,200 in Allegany County, which has the most Covid-19 cases per capita in the state. About a quarter of the population of Lonaconing lives below the poverty line, according to census data.

A spokeswoman for Kroger congratulated the winner in Michigan and the mayor of Novi, Bob Gatt, said the news came a month after the city was named “the second-most innovative city in the country” by Entrepreneur magazine.

He described Novi as a rapidly growing city that had once been a rural outpost of Detroit but was now a hub of car manufacturing that was attracting tech companies like Google.

Mr. Gatt said he was “ecstatic” for the winner. “I’d be better if I had the winning ticket,” he said.

The jackpot was the second-largest prize in the history of Mega Millions.

In 2018, a person who chose to remain anonymous won $1.537 billion in South Carolina. That prize remains the world’s largest lottery prize ever awarded on a single ticket, according to Mega Millions.

The biggest lottery prize ever awarded in the United States was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016, according to The Associated Press. It was divided among three ticket winners in California, Florida and Tennessee.

A lingering mythology holds that the winners of big jackpots become cursed after their strokes of good fortune. There are numerous accounts of winners who, unequipped to manage their newfound wealth, go on to struggle with drugs or alcohol, ruined relationships and insolvency.

While one influential study in 1978 found that lottery winners were not any happier than their neighbors or more optimistic about the future, other studies have countered the notion of the so-called lottery curse.

The studies suggest that the winners’ general psychological well-being bounces back over time.

In 2018, a New Hampshire woman filed a lawsuit to keep her name from being released to the public after she won $560 million in the Powerball lottery.

Lawyers for the woman, who called herself Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said she wished to use a portion of her winnings for charity “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery ‘winners.’”

An unidentified person bought the Mega Millions ticket at a grocery store in Novi, Mich. It was the third-biggest jackpot in U.S. history.

One winning ticket sold for $1.05bn Mega Millions lottery jackpot

A customer fills out a Mega Millions lottery ticket at a convenience store in Northbrook, Illinois. Photograph: Nam Y Huh/AP

A customer fills out a Mega Millions lottery ticket at a convenience store in Northbrook, Illinois. Photograph: Nam Y Huh/AP

First published on Sat 23 Jan 2021 12.42 GMT

One winning ticket was sold in Michigan for the $1.05bn Mega Millions jackpot, the third-largest lottery prize in US history.

The winning numbers drawn on Friday were 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.

“Someone in Michigan woke up to life-changing news this morning, and Kroger Michigan congratulates the newest Michigan multimillionaire,” said Rachel Hurst, a regional spokeswoman for the grocery chain. She declined to comment further.

The top prize had been growing since 15 September, when a winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin. The lottery’s next estimated jackpot is $20m.

Friday night’s draw came two days after a ticket sold in Maryland won a $731.1m Powerball jackpot.

Only two lottery prizes in the US have been larger than Friday’s jackpot. Three tickets for a $1.586bn Powerball jackpot were sold in January 2016, and one winning ticket sold for a $1.537bn Mega Millions jackpot in October 2018.

The jackpot figures refer to amounts if a winner opts for an annuity, paid in 30 yearly installments. Most winners choose a cash prize, which for the Mega Millions game would be $776.6m before taxes and $557m after taxes, Michigan Lottery spokesman Jake Harris said.

“No way!” shopper Ryan Gabrielli told the Detroit News at the lucky Kroger. “We meant to play the lottery but forgot to.”

Harris said the ticket holder should sign the back and keep it in a safe place.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the winning ticket holder held on to that ticket for a little bit, got their affairs in order, put together a financial plan and then reached out to contact us,” he said.

In Grosse Ile, a suburb south of Detroit, 126 people bought more than 600 tickets for the Friday draw but didn’t win the jackpot.

They hoped to win enough money to replace a publicly owned bridge on their island in the Detroit river that has been closed indefinitely for major repairs. The only other transportation option for the island’s 10,000 residents is a privately owned toll bridge.

“We used this to lift our spirits and dream a little bit,” said organizer Kyle de Beausset. “Of course we’re open to any help with the bridge, but I can’t imagine the winner would want to finance it.”

The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are incredibly steep: one in 302.5m. The game is played in 45 states as well as Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands.

Third-largest prize in US history, growing since September, awaits Michigan winner ]]>