The Biggest Lottery Winners Ever


By Martin Green | Updated on 15 Apr 2022

Where are these people from and what lotteries did they play? Our aim is to give you a broad idea of the biggest lottery winners out there, including lots of interesting statistics about them.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to list everyone that has won a fortune. Some lotteries are won by multiple ticket holders or by syndicates. In addition to this, many people choose to remain anonymous after winning the lottery.

Who are the biggest lottery winning individuals?

These enormous amounts are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Small groups and individual persons can and have won more than 1 billion US dollars (less after taxation) from a single ticket! 

Here is a comprehensive list of the 17 biggest winners ever. Each of these 17 winning payouts was for more than $500 million!

1. $1.586 billion - The biggest jackpot of all time!

This unbelievable amount was won by three Powerball tickets on Jan 13, 2016. Each winning group received a check for $528.8 million, who then decided to take the cash option (after taxation) of $327.8 million!

The winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. Lisa and John Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, were the only winners to go public with photographs and interviews.

Marvin and Mae Acosta bought one of the tickets at a 7-Eleven store in Chino Hills, California. The Florida prize was claimed by the “The Nickel 95 Trust”.

Remember that many people prefer to remain anonymous and hide their personal details after winning the lottery. This makes it difficult to list each individual lottery winner by name.

All of the biggest wins in history have taken place in the United States, outstripping the rest of the world by a long margin. However, huge winnings are definitely still available in Europe and throughout the rest of the world.

2. $1.54 billion

Although this is technically only the second biggest win in history, it smashes the No. 1 amount because it was paid out to a single ticket!

The winning ticket was bought in South Carolina on October 23, 2018. Uniquely, South Carolina is one of only 11 U.S. states that allow winners to remain anonymous. The lucky winner decided to do just that!

3. $1.050 billion

The Michigan state lottery paid out this incredible amount for a single Mega Millions winning ticket in January 2021. The Wolverine FLL Club, a four-member group from suburban Detroit, chose to take the lump-sum option of $776 million. They went on to receive $557 million after taxes.

The Michigan lottery did not release the names of the four Wolverine Club members, who chose to remain anonymous.

The club's attorney, Kurt Panouses, declared that the club will remain humble and give regularly to charity in southeast Michigan, "through the kind of money that will impact our families for generations to come".

4. $768.4 million

This winning Powerball ticket was boughtin Wisconsin on March 27, 2019, at a Speedway station in a suburb of Milwaukee. The ticket, bought by Manuel Franco, won an incredible $768.4 million! Manuel decided to take the cash option of $477 million, who received $326 million after state and federal taxes.

The winning two-dollar ticket, consisting of five Quick Pick numbers and a Powerball number, changed Franco’s life forever.

5. $758.7 million

Mavis L. Wanczyk, a 53-year-old hospital worker was the lucky winner of this incredible amount. She bought her winning ticket in Massachusetts on August 23, 2017.

After deciding to take the lump-sum payment, Mavis walked away with $336 million after taxes!

6. $731.1 million

This enormous jackpot was won by an anonymous group from Maryland in May 2021. The Power Pack purchased a single ticket at Coney Market in Lonaconing, Maryland, to land the $546.8 million cash prize as a lump sum. After taxes, this boiled down to $366.6 million.

This Powerball jackpot was the fourth largest in Powerball history and the biggest ever in Maryland history. The winner had to check the ticket “half-a-dozen times” before telling the rest of the winners.

Everyone in Maryland was a winner through this fantastic win! The state itself received $49 million in tax revenue, with Coney Market receiving a $100,000 bonus.

7. $687.8 million

This jackpot was split between two winning tickets on October 27, 2018. One winning ticket was sold in Iowa, with the other being sold in New York.

One of the winners, Lerynne West, a 51-year-old grandmother from Iowa, left her winning ticket in her sister’s truck for a couple of days before she eventually found it!

The other winning half was claimed by 67-year-old Robert Bailey, a retired government worker from Manhattan, New York. Robert‘s prize, taken as a lump sum, was trimmed down to $125.3 million after taxation.

8. $656 million

There are no specific details about this big win that took place on March 30, 2012.

The prize was divided between three tickets, with one group of winners calling themselves the “Three Amigos”. All we know is that these three friends were in their 20s, 40s and 50s and worked in the Maryland public education system.

The other two tickets were bought in Illinois and Kansas.

9. $648 million

This amazing prize, won on the Mega Millions lottery on December 17, 2013, was divided between two winning tickets.

Half went to Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia.

A delivery driver from Northern California, Steve Tran, won the other half. Steve ended up with about $120 million after taking the lump-sum option and paying 25% + 6% federal and state taxes, respectively.

10. $590.5 million

Gloria MacKenzie from Zephyrhills in Florida was 84 when she won the Powerball jackpot on May 18, 2013. At the time, this was the biggest single-ticket jackpot win in history! Gloria took the lump-sum option, which dropped down to $278 million after taxes.

11. $587.5 million

This Powerball jackpot was won by two separate tickets on November 28, 2012.

Half of this incredible jackpot was won by Cindy and Mark Hill of Missouri.

The other half was won by 37-year-old, Matthew Good, of Fountain Hills, Arizona.

12. $564.1 million

This enormous Powerball jackpot was won on February 11, 2015.

The winning total was shared by three winning tickets. A third of this enormous prize was claimed by Marie Holmes of Shalotte, North Carolina.

The other winners are unknown to us at the moment. We know that these two tickets were bought in Texas and Puerto Rico.

13. $559.7 million

This incredible amount was won by a single ticket on January 6, 2018!

The female winner decided to take legal action in order to remain anonymous. She did this after the state of New Hampshire declared that lottery winners should remain public knowledge. It looks like she was successful, however, because we still don’t know who she is!

The winner donated $250,000 of her winnings to good causes, combined between the Girls Inc. of New Hampshire charity and to three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger.

14. $543 million

This Mega Millions jackpot was won by a single ticket in California on July 24, 2018.

At the time,this was the biggest winning prize for a single ticket. The prize was split between 11 co-workers, all employed at a finance company located in Santa Clara.

15. $536 million

This Mega Millions winning single ticket was sold at a Speedway in Cambridge City, Indiana, on July 8, 2016.

The winning couple, married with two children, were clever enough to set up a limited liability company to claim the prize. This has enabled them to remain anonymous.

After paying taxes and deciding to take the lump-sum option, the couple took home $271 million.

16. $533 million

Richard Wahl, of Vernon Township in Sussex County, New Jersey, bought the winning ticket for this Mega Millions draw on March 30, 2018.

Bought at a Lukoil gas station on Route 23 in Riverdale, Richard walked away with $324 million (after taxes) after deciding to take home the cash lump-sum option.

17. $522 million

This incredible prize was won by single-ticket holder, Laarni Bibal, on June 7, 2019.

We know very little about Laarni, who at the time of her incredible win, heralded from San Diego, California.

This is just a short list of the top 15 winning jackpot amounts of all time. The full list extends to thousands of individuals and groups that have won life-changing sums of money

It is truly incredible how much money can be won by playing Powerball, Mega Millions and other lotteries. And this is in the United States alone!

The biggest lottery wins per country

Here is a semi-comprehensive list of the biggest lottery wins, in US dollars.

USA - Top 6 Winners

Jackpot value Cash value Lottery Year State Winning Numbers
$1.586 billion /
three tickets
$983.5million Powerball 2016 California, Florida and Tennessee 8 - 27 - 34 - 4 - 19
Powerball: 10
$1.537 billion /
single ticket
$877.8million Mega Millions 2018 South Carolina 5 - 28 - 62 - 65 - 70
Mega Ball: 5
$1.050 billion /
single ticket
$776.6million Mega Millions 2021 Michigan 4 - 26 - 42 - 50 - 60
Mega Ball: 24
$768.4 million /
single ticket
$477million Powerball 2019 Wisconsin 16 - 20 - 37 - 44 - 62
Powerball: 12
$758.7 million /
single ticket
$480.5million Powerball 2017 Massachusetts 6 - 7 - 16 - 23 - 26
Powerball: 4
$731.1 million /
single ticket
$546.8million Powerball 2021 Maryland 40 - 53 - 60 - 68 - 69
Powerball: 22

 

As you can see, all of the biggest wins come from the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries. All of these wins took place between 2016 and 2021, so it is likely that future lottery wins will be even higher!

Europe - Euromillions

Here are the top three biggest wins in Europe..

Jackpot value
(actual payout*)
Lottery Year Country Winning Numbers
$220 million /
single ticket
EuroMillions 2021 France 21 - 26 - 31 - 34 - 49
Stars: 1 - 6
$210 million /
single ticket
EuroMillions 2021 Switzerland 6 - 12 - 22 - 29 - 33
Stars: 6 - 11
$200 million /
single ticket
EuroMillions 2020 France 6 - 9 - 13 - 24 - 41
Stars: 3 - 12

 

*Note that in Europe, lottery wins are usually tax free!

Europe - Top 6 other lotteries

List of the biggest non-EuroMillions wins in Europe.

Jackpot value
(actual payout)
Lottery Year Country Winning Numbers
€209 million /
single ticket
SuperEnalotto 2019 Italy 7 - 32 - 41 - 59 - 75 - 76
Jolly: 21
SuperStar: 11
CHF 70.1 million
(USD 76.5 million)
Swiss Lotto 2016 Switzerland 7 - 13 - 18 - 24 - 28 - 33
Lucky Number: 6
GBP 66.1 million
(USD 96 million) /
two tickets
Lotto 2016 United Kingdom 26 - 27 - 46 - 47 - 52 - 58
€45.4 million /
three tickets
Lotto 6 aus 49 2007 Germany 9 - 10 - 24 - 28 - 39 - 42
Superzahl: 3
€42.6 million /
single ticket
Lotto 6 aus 49 2020 Germany 4 - 8 - 16 - 22 - 28 - 33
Superzahl: 6
SEK 238 million
(USD 38 million)
Svenska Spel Lotto 2013 Sweden 3 - 8 - 11 - 12 - 21 - 23 - 25
10 - 16 - 20 - 24

 

Jackpot values are lower in Europe in comparison to the top wins obtained in the United States. The biggest lottery wins so far have been won through EuroMillions. 

These major lottery winnings come from a wide range of lotteries, from France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, UK and Sweden. This goes to show how lucrative lottery wins can be in Europe.

It is also possible to win big in other countries such as the Philippines. The biggest win so far is equivalent to USD 21.9 million, won by two lucky Philippine lottery players.

The Biggest Scratch Off Winners

It is also possible to win incredible sums of money by purchasing scratch-offs or scratch cards. Although these amounts are not in the hundreds of millions, as listed above, you can still win millions of dollars in some U.S. states.

Wade Harmon, from Kenly, North Carolina, won $10 million from a single scratch off lottery ticket. His $30 scratch off ticket was bought on the way home from work in 2020. After getting home, Wade lit up his grill, scratched the ticket and said “Woah!”.

Wade decided to take home a lump-sum payout of $6 million

In Tennessee, best friends Wyatt Close, 19, and Brandon Thompson, 19, bought a $30 lottery ticket on October 1, 2021. They split the $3 million winning prize between them.

The two friends bought a pair of Jumbo Bucks Titanium instant tickets. The first one lost, but the second ticket revealed a set of black bold numbers, causing the pair to jump around with sheer joy!

In Florida, two $1 million prizes were announced in the SAME WEEK!

The Fastest Road to $1,000,000 scratch-off was won by Lauren Santos, 38, of Jacksonville. She decided to take the lump-sum payment of $790,000. All for a lucky ticket that cost just $30!

A $5,000,000 Luck Scratcher prize of $1 million was won by Daniel Beicht, 43, of Palm Bay in Brevard County. He decided to take the lump-sum payout, this time for $760,000. Daniel’s ticket cost him just $20!

These are just some of the amazing instant prizes that can be won through scratch offs. Although these winning sums are not as life changing as Powerball, Mega Millions or other renowned major lotteries, they are still incredible sums of money!

Summary

All of the biggest lottery wins so far have taken place in the United States. The biggest win to date is $1.586 billion, shared between three lucky winners from California, Florida and Tennessee, in 2016. After taxation, the take-home payout was an incredible $983 million: almost 1 billion dollars!

In the US, the biggest payouts are invariably from Powerball and Mega Millions. In Europe, it is usually EuroMillions that pays out the most cash.

Tickets for these huge-payout lotteries can be purchased online. Check our ultimate research of Best Online Lottery Sites.