Roland Reyes claimed the incredible $543 million prize on behalf of his group, but he didn’t show up alone. In total, each of 11 office pool members showed up to the Lottery’s East Bay District Office in Hayward the day after the July 24 draw. Reyes tells us the group played on a whim after learning how large the jackpot had grown: “It was spur of the moment. ‘Hey, did you hear about the jackpot? We should play.’” And just like that, those words set into motion a move that would result in the largest prize ever won on a single California Lottery ticket.
The players, ranging in age from 21 to 60, told us they don’t have a regular lottery pool. They simply took a chance on the game by pitching in $2 apiece. Out of all the retailers who sell California Lottery tickets, Reyes told us he knew the type of place he wanted to purchase the tickets. “A small business owner. We’ll probably have a better chance with a mom & pop shop,” Reyes said of his thought process before pulling up to Ernie’s Liquors, which is located at 2808 South White Road in San Jose (Santa Clara County). The winning ticket, a Quick Pick®, successfully matched the numbers 19-2-4-1-29 and the Mega number 20.
The winners have the option of taking the entire annuitized amount of $543 million spread out over 30 years, or taking the final lump-sum cash option of $320.5 million. Both options are before federal taxes. There were mentions of paying off mortgages, kids’ college tuition, helping family members, going back to school and, of course, travel. “It helps real people and families,” Reyes said, realizing how lucky he and his co-workers are. The group nodded in agreement, as one co-worker stressed that she’d invest wisely to avoid becoming a “one-time millionaire.”
Here are some additional quick facts about this win:
– Total final revised jackpot amount: $543 million (Largest prize won in California Lottery history).
– California sold $123.8 million worth of Mega Millions tickets during this jackpot run which began on May 8, 2018. It took 23 draws (22 rolls) for someone to finally hit the huge $543 million jackpot.
– The estimated contribution to California public education from this Mega Millions run is nearly $50 million.
– Based on preliminary figures for FY 2017-18, per-pupil Lottery funding (assuming Lottery monies are distributed evenly to each student) comes out to an estimated $204 per student.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PDT.
How to Play Mega Millions Online and Outside of the US ?
Provided below are the rules for how foreigners can play Mega Millions:
- Tickets for Mega Millions are for sale by lottery retailers in 43 US States, in the District of Colombia and in the U.S Virgin Islands.
- To obtain tickets outside of these jurisdictions, foreigners can use online lottery operators, to locally purchase an official lottery ticket on their behalf.
- All reputable retailers will require you to register and provide billing information before purchasing tickets on your behalf.
- Once the tickets have been bought, the online retailer will make scans of both the official ticket and the receipt.
- To avoid online scams be sure that the site you are using is legitimate. For a comparison of three online retailers already reviewed by InternationalLottery.org read here.
- After the draw, the winning numbers are published online. Retailers will generally only contact you if you have won.
- You can then choose to either have the winning ticket sent to you, or to authorize the retailer tocollect the winnings on your behalf.
- If you elect to do the latter, you will then be prompted to verify your identity for security and tax reasons.
- If you win a significant amount or even perhaps the jackpot, it is likely that you will have to personally claim your prize at the local Mega Millions office.
- At this time the agent may assist you in making the necessary legal arrangements to collect your prize.
Can Foreigners Win Mega Millions?
- Yes, foreign citizens can legally win Mega Millions.
- The tax for a non-US citizen is a flat 30% of the winnings.
- Additional tax treaties may also apply depending on your citizenship.
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