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$1 billion Mega Millions jackpot has a winner

There’s winning and then there’s winning big. A lucky Michigan lottery player won big Friday night — $1 billion big.

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot was one the most valuable lottery jackpots ever, according to organizers.

One ticket matched all six numbers — 4, 26, 42, 50, 60, and 24 —necessary to win the estimated $1 billion prize, according to Mega Millions. The yet-to-be-identified winner can choose between long-term payments or a $739.6 million lump-sum payout before taxes.

The odds of winning were 1 in 302,575,350.

It’s the third-largest lotto jackpot since 2016. The record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion went to three people from Tennessee, Florida and California who each had the winning numbers in 2016. The largest single jackpot winner hit the Mega Millions numbers for $1.537 billion in late 2018.

The Mega Millions jackpot has been climbing in value since September, when it was reset to $20 million after a $120 million win. This was the longest stretch with no winner in the history of the game, Mega Millions officials said in a statement.

The jackpot’s gains have been slow partly because fewer people have been playing during the pandemic. Mega Millions is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Wednesday, a single ticket sold at a convenience store in Lonaconing, Maryland, hit all six numbers in the Powerball jackpot. That win is worth $716.3 paid over 30 years or a cash prize of $546.8 million.

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Friday night's $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot has a winner, organizers indicated. It's the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot yet.

Powerball, Mega Millions: These are the luckiest states for jackpot winners

Chances of winning the lotto are extremely low, but if you do win here’s what not to do.

If you haven’t come close to winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, maybe it’s time to change the location of where you buy your tickets.

Of course, buying a ticket in another state won’t guarantee you luck, either.

We tracked down where the luckiest states are for Powerball and Mega Millions, the two most popular national lottery games.

Six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah – do not have state lotteries, and therefore do not sell Powerball or Mega Millions tickets.

But the other 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, do play Powerball. So, where does your state rank?

Powerball

With 39 winners, Indiana represents over 10% of all jackpot winners in this game.

Missouri is second with 31 winners, followed by Minnesota at 22.

Florida has had 12 big winners, including a Melbourne Beach couple, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, who shared the biggest jackpot of any kind in U.S. history, dividing the $1.58 billion prize on Jan. 13, 2016, with winners from California and Tennessee.

Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Melbourne Beach, Florida, claim their Powerball jackpot in Tallahassee on Feb. 17. (Photo: KARL ETTERS/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT)

Just four states – Maine, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming – plus the U.S. Virgin Islands – have yet to sell a ticket with six matching numbers.

Amazingly, five Powerball tickets have gone unclaimed, including a ticket worth $16 million purchased at a suburban Tampa convenience store in 2013.

State-by-state Powerball jackpot winners

  • Indiana: 39
  • Missouri: 31
  • Minnesota: 22
  • Kentucky: 18
  • Pennsylvania: 18
  • Louisiana: 17
  • Wisconsin: 17
  • Arizona: 13
  • Florida: 12
  • Kansas: 11
  • New Hampshire: 11
  • Washington, D.C.: 11
  • New York: 11
  • Nebraska: 10
  • Delaware: 10
  • Iowa: 9
  • California: 9
  • New Jersey: 8
  • West Virginia: 8
  • Connecticut: 8
  • Rhode Island: 8
  • Tennessee: 7
  • South Carolina: 6
  • North Carolina: 6
  • Georgia: 6
  • Massachusetts: 6
  • New Mexico: 5
  • Oregon: 5
  • Idaho: 5
  • Oklahoma: 4
  • Montana: 4
  • Michigan: 4
  • Ohio: 3
  • Colorado: 3
  • South Dakota: 3
  • Puerto Rico: 2
  • Texas: 2
  • Illinois: 2
  • Maryland: 2
  • Virginia: 1
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Washington: 1
  • Maine: 0
  • North Dakota: 0
  • Vermont: 0
  • Wyoming: 0
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: 0

Mega Millions

When it comes to the Mega Millions, only 25 states have claimed big jackpot winners, with New York’s 37 mega-millionaires leading the way.

California is second with 31 and Ohio recently joined New Jersey in a third-place tie with 20. The latest Ohio winner claimed a $375 million jackpot on Dec. 17.

Sadly, three winning Mega Millions jackpot tickets – all bought in New York, in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – went unclaimed.

State-by-state Mega Millions jackpot winners

  • New York: 37
  • California: 31
  • New Jersey: 20
  • Ohio: 20
  • Georgia: 17
  • Michigan: 17
  • Texas: 13
  • Illinois: 11
  • Maryland: 11
  • Virginia: 9
  • Washington: 5
  • Massachusetts: 3
  • North Carolina: 2
  • Pennsylvania: 2
  • Missouri: 2
  • Florida: 2
  • Indiana: 2
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Kansas: 1
  • South Carolina: 1
  • Idaho: 1
  • Illinois: 1
  • Tennessee: 1
  • New Hampshire: 1
  • Rhode Island: 1

Is Indiana lucky? People from that state represent 10% of all Powerball jackpot winners. New York has the most Mega Millions winners.