Lottery

Where the Mega Millions jackpot ranks among all-time SC lottery jackpots

The $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the biggest lottery prize in U.S. history.
The $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the biggest lottery prize in U.S. history. Getty Images/iStockphoto

When the anonymous winner of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot went to Columbia Monday to claim the prize, it became the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history, according to the South Carolina Education Lottery.

Since the winning ticket was sold in S.C., it now ranks as the biggest payday for a winner in Palmetto State history.

But how does it compare to South Carolina’s other top lottery prizes?

It dwarfs them.

The $1.5 billion jackpot is more than the rest of the top five S.C. lottery jackpots combined.

The combined total for the other four record lottery payouts is $858.7 million, S.C. Education Lottery spokesperson Holli Armstrong told The State.

That is just under the total the anonymous S.C. resident took home after electing to collect the Mega Millions winnings in a one-time payment of $877,784,124, according to a news release from the S.C. lottery.

Before the winning ticket was sold Oct. 23 in Simpsonville, the previous record lottery payout was a $399.4 million Powerball jackpot, Armstrong told The State. She said that ticket was sold Sept. 18, 2013.

The rest of the top five lottery paydays were all won playing Powerball, Armstrong said.

This was the first time S.C. sold a Mega Millions jackpot winning ticket, The State previously reported.

Numbers three and four on the all-time S.C. lottery payday list were also nine-digit jackpots. Armstrong said there was a $259.9 million prize won Aug. 19, 2009. That broke the previous record set on New Year’s Eve 2003, when a $110.7 jackpot was paid out after the winning ticket was sold in S.C.

Rounding out the top five is an $88.7 million payout from May 7, 2003, according to Armstrong.

It took 132 days for the winner to claim the Mega Millions prize. When no winner immediately stepped forward, it caused some worry at the S.C. Lottery.

“I was really concerned that it got washed in a pair of jeans and was gone, or that we needed to get an army out at a landfill,” S.C. Lottery treasurer Keith Munson said, according to WHNS.

When the S.C. resident claimed the prize, it was good news for the winner, and for the state. S.C. will benefit from $61 million in income taxes from the winner, S.C. Education Lottery Commission’s executive director Hogan Brown said in a news release.

The S.C. House of Representatives is currently considering a budget where that money would be used to give a one-time rebate of $50 per taxpayer, The State reported.

Top 5 S.C. Lottery Payouts

$1.5 billion – Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018

$399.4 million – Powerball, Sept. 18, 2013

$259.9 million – Powerball, Aug. 19, 2009

$110.7 million – Powerball, Dec. 31, 2003

$88.7 million – Powerball, May 7, 2003

Source: South Carolina Education Lottery

See the scholarships that are funded by the SC Education Lottery and how to qualify for them.

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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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