The 8 Biggest Jackpots in US History

8 biggest lottery jackpots in US history

When lottery fever hits with a rising Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot, it helps to put things in perspective. Here's a look at the eight biggest jackpots in U.S. history, from smallest to largest.

Marie Holmes (second from left) won $88 million (after taxes) in a Powerball drawing in 2015.
Photo: North Carolina Education Lottery

8. $564 million Powerball

This jackpot was split three ways and won on Feb. 11, 2015. Details of two of the winners weren't made public, but for the third winner, Marie Holmes, of North Carolina, the draw was truly life-changing, CNN Money reported.

A single mom, Holmes used to work at Walmart, Subway and McDonald's to support four children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. At the time of winning, she said she planned to use the money to put her children through college, buy a house for her mom and donate some to charity.

7. $587.5 million Powerball

On Nov. 28, 2012, the winning pot was split between Matthew Good and the Hill family of Missouri. Cindy and Mark Hill told their daughter not to get her hopes up, as winning was a long shot, according to a Powerball press release. But when they realized they had the lucky ticket, they decided to take her on a beach vacation and buy her a horse.

6. $590.5 million Powerball

At 84, Gloria Mackenzie, of Florida, won the entire jackpot alone on May 18, 2013. However, as she revealed, it was a stranger's kindness that allowed her to take home the prize. 

"Another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket," she told CNN after winning.

5. $648 million Mega Millions

Ira Curry, of Georgia, and Steve Tran, of California, split the Dec. 17, 2013, jackpot. Curry said she bet using a combination of family birthdays. As for Tran, he was working as a delivery driver at the time and immediately called his boss saying, "I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever."

The Illinois winners of the record Mega Millions jackpot have stepped forward.Merle and Patricia Butler, who are in...

Posted by Doug Wolfe - WAND TV on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4. $656 million Mega Millions

Like many of the big wins, this jackpot was split between three winning tickets on March 30, 2012. Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from Illinois, took home a third of the change. A group of friends in Maryland, calling themselves the "three amigos," claimed a third as well. The final winner was never revealed, but the ticket was purchased in Kansas.

3. $758.7 million Powerball

Mavis Wanczyk purchased the winning ticket in Massachusetts, making history as the biggest single winner in North American history. The win came earlier this year, on August 23, 2017.

After winning, Wanczyk told her boss: "I will not be coming back."

John Robinson, right; his wife, Lisa, second from the left; and their daughter, Tiffany, left, get a ceremonial check from the Tennessee Lottery on Friday, Jan. 15. 2016.
Photo: Tennessee Lottery

2. $1.5 billion Powerball

In October, 2018, the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history went to one anonymous person who lives in South Carolina who finally stepped forward 5 months later.

The winner chose a one-time payment of $877,784,124 according to lottery officials.

1. $1.6 billion Powerball

Although it was split three ways, none of the winners could complain too much about sharing the record-shattering Jan. 13, 2016, jackpot. John and Lisa Robinson, of Tennessee, Maureen Smith, of Florida, and Mae and Marvin Acosta, of California – who took six months to claim their winnings – split the prize three ways.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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