If you’re one of the millions of people who have waited for the right time to play the Mega Millions lottery, you’re about to witness history, as the US lottery’s jackpot has surpassed $1 billion for the fourth time in history. It’s also the fourth-highest prize in lottery history, and it has been steadily rising for more than three months. On Tuesday night’s draw, the Mega Millions website crashed for nearly two hours. It was so busy that it was unusable to serve all players.
While waiting for the winning tickets, Taylor Curtis bought two tickets, the first being on Tuesday. The Mega Millions jackpot reached $830 million, but went unclaimed in the following drawing. With a 1 in 302.5-million chance of winning, Taylor Curtis already had some ideas of what she could do with that money. She’s not the only one who has big dreams for her newfound wealth.
If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery, a billion dollars can buy you a lifetime supply of Chipotle burritos, a Swenson’s galley boy for five years, and a Starbuck’s grande iced vanilla latte every morning. Or maybe you’ll get a new car and can start a business with that money. The possibilities are endless.
Mega Millions has been growing for three months now, and the last drawing yielded no winners. With a new jackpot of over $1 billion, it’s still possible for a lucky winner to walk away with a lot of cash. However, the amount of cash a winner takes home will be significantly less than $1 billion – just $602.5 million. With the federal government withholding of 24%, the winner will receive just over $146 million.
The prize is still well below the world record Powerball prize of $1.5 billion, but it’s still bigger than any other lottery prize ever won. The winning ticket would split the prize between two winners and receive it in cash. The jackpot would also be reduced by 603 million if the winner were to receive it all at once. The money would also be taxed, reducing the total payout. And it’s likely that a winner would want to claim the prize anonymously.
The winner’s tax liabilities will vary by state, although the top federal marginal tax bracket is 37%. In Ohio, the state’s top tax rate is just 4%. But, because it’s still a lottery prize, the winner will still owe an additional $78.3 million in federal taxes. Alternatively, the winner may opt for an annuity option, which pays the winnings in 30 annual installments of $34.1 million.