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When it comes to lottery jackpots, no other country comes close to the booming market in the United States. Even though an impressive 7.7 million Australians purchase lottery tickets every year, this number pales in comparison with what’s spent in America. In 2017, over $73.5 billion was spent on traditional lottery tickets throughout the United States. When including electronic lottery games, the figure jumps up to $80 billion. This staggering amount of revenue averages out to $325 a year in spending for every American adult.
This outrageous amount of investment isn’t for no reason, since America boasts some of the highest jackpots in the world. The sheer size of the drawing pools allows these massive companies to take things to the next level. While many jackpots make lucky winners millionaires, these epic contests manage to instantaneously create billionaires. The sensational amount of money given out to players creates a mystique that allows the industry to get even bigger every year.
Last year was no exception, since it ushered in some of the most impressive jackpots of all-time. Boasting 6 of the 15 largest jackpots in the history of the game, 2018 was a banner year for America’s lottery industry. Two of these prizes were in the top four, and these impressive jackpots are only motivating more people to play. To showcase how massive America’s lottery industry is, we compiled a list of the biggest jackpots in 2018. The sheer size of these payouts defies reason, so prepare to be impressed by these entries!
Jackpot #3: $559.7 Million Powerball (January 6th) – One woman rang in the New Year with an epic windfall from the local Powerball lottery. Unfortunately, this welcome surprise was followed by the court case of a lifetime. For the next two months, the woman fought to keep her name anonymous in a valiant effort to protect her safety. While she won the court case, the judge ruled that her hometown had to be made public. This led to the press learning that the prudent winner hailed from Merrimack, New Hampshire. She ended up donating $250,000 of the winnings to local charities, which further showcases the fact that she was a wise winner.
Jackpot #2: $687.8 Million Powerball (October 27th) – This massive jackpot ended up uniting two unlucky winners from New York and Iowa. Robert Baily from New York had been betting the same numbers that a family member had given him for over 25 years. After decades of persistence, the 67-year-old’s consistency finally paid off. Baily ended up winning one of the most epic jackpots in New York history.
The second half of the prize went to Lerynne West of Redfield, Iowa. The insurance worker immediately retired and set up the Callum Foundation to honor her deceased grandson. This new foundation is set to launch in 2019, and will provide grants towards providing solutions to poverty and hunger problems.
Jackpot #1: $1.537 Billion Mega Millions (October 23rd) – After keeping everyone in suspense for months, this winning ticket was finally claimed by an anonymous patron. The winning ticket was purchased at a KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina. For the first few months, no one claimed this life changing prize.
The states were poised to redistribute the winnings, but the shy winner claimed the prize less than two months before it expired. The anonymous user is currently represented by attorney Jason Kurland, and opted for a one-time payment of $878 million. This is the largest jackpot payout ever made to a single player, and embodies the magic that keeps us fascinated with lotteries.
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