This Is the Largest Lottery Jackpot of All Time

Lotteries are not new in the United States. One report shows that 392 lotteries were held in America between 1721 and 1783. By the early 19th century, lotteries were used to fund public works, much as they are today.

Today, almost every state runs a lottery. Some lotteries are spread across several states. As of late 2019, lotteries existed in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets are sold in tens of thousands of places, and people even can play lotteries on their phones.

Two forms of lotteries have driven prize sizes higher. The first is Mega Millions. It is played across 45 states, which means the number of people who can participate can be huge. Winners are drawn each week, although often the number for the highest winnings has not been sold. The entire jackpot is rolled into the next week.

The second large type of lottery is also played across almost every state. It is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a nonprofit organization, which says:

…its member lotteries in multi-jurisdictional game development. Each MUSL member offers one or more of the games generally facilitated by MUSL, but retains its independent statutory duties regarding ticket sales, retailer authorization, prize payments, income offsets, and other responsibilities.

The association also holds lottery patents, trademarks and copyrights.

What makes these large lotteries so attractive? According to the Washington Post, “The lottery officials who run Mega Millions tweaked the rules and odds of the game last October (2017) to make jackpots pay out less frequently, spurring their monster growth.”

The plan worked. Of the 10 largest payouts of all time, four of these jackpots came from Mega Million lotteries.

However, the largest payout of all time, according to US News, was the Powerball payout from the January 13, 2016 drawing. Winning tickets were sold in three states: California, Florida and Tennessee. The total value of the jackpot was $1.586 billion. According to CNBC, the winners of this jackpot were John and Lisa Robinson in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California.

Click here to read about 12 things not to do if you win the lottery.

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