Lottery

Winner claims $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot after long delay, SC Lottery says

The SC Lottery has a message to the Mega Millions winner

The South Carolina Education Lottery announces winner in $1.5 billion Mega Millions contest Wednesday Oct. 24, 2018, in Simpsonville, SC.
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The South Carolina Education Lottery announces winner in $1.5 billion Mega Millions contest Wednesday Oct. 24, 2018, in Simpsonville, SC.

After a long wait, the person who bought the winning ticket in the $1.5 billion Mega Millions drawing came forward Monday to claim the prize, according to a news release from the South Carolina Education Lottery.

The winner, a South Carolina resident, has chosen to remain anonymous and elected to collect the winnings in a one-time payment of $877,784,124 — the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history, the lottery said in a news release.

South Carolina is one of just a few states -- along with Delaware, Kansas, Georgia, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas — that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, The State reported.

The winning ticket was sold Oct. 23 at the KC Mart #7 at 303 Lee Vaughn Road in Simpsonville, about 90 miles northwest of Columbia in Greenville County, The State reported.

The winner had up to 180 days to claim the prize, said a release from Lottery.net, a site devoted to lottery news. It had been 132 days since the winning ticket was sold.

According to the S.C. lottery, the person “marvels at how every decision made that day brought the winner to the store, at that very moment, to make the Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase.”

The winner let another customer buy a Mega Millions ticket in front of them in line, which “ led to an amazing outcome,” according to the news release.

The winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65 ,70 and a mega number 5, according to an October news release from Mega Millions.

“We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize, said Hogan Brown, the S.C. Education Lottery Commission’s executive director. “We offer sincere congratulations and are very happy that one of our South Carolina retailers, KC Mart in Simpsonville, will receive $50,000 for selling the claimed winning ticket. The State of South Carolina will benefit from $61 million that will be collected in income taxes from the winner. We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes.”

The S.C. lottery said the winner “retained Jason Kurland of Rivkin Radler of New York to provide legal representation and to act as spokesperson,” in the news release. The attorney will speak at a news conference at S.C. lottery headquarters in Columbia.

This was the first time South Carolina sold a Mega Millions jackpot winning ticket, The State reported.

The prize being claimed could mean a payoff for all S.C. taxpayers.

Budget writers in the S.C. House of Representatives hoped to use the state’s $61 million lottery windfall to help pay for rebates to S.C. taxpayers. The proposal was originally requested by Gov. Henry McMaster, who in January asked lawmakers in his executive budget to spend $200 million in the form of a rebate for taxpayers.

In response, the House Ways and Means Committee attached a proviso to the 2019-20 budget that would use the state’s lottery share and other state dollars to give a one-time rebate in the amount of $50 per taxpayer.

The S.C. House will take up the proposed budget next week, which is expected to pass before moving to the state Senate.

Staff politics reporter Maayan Schechter contributed to this story.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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