Biggest Lottery Winners

The Previous Top Five Payouts in Lottery History

Biggest Lottery Winners
January 15, 2016

Not one of the three Powerball winners? Join the club. If it makes you feel any better, no one in the record $1.5+ billion January 13, 2016, Powerball drawing became an overnight billionaire, as the huge payout has to be split at least three ways.

Of the lottery winners who collect hundreds of millions of dollars, the vast majority of them are in the US. While the largest collective payout was in Spain's Christmas Lottery ($875 million for the 2013 "El Gordo" top prize), it is a straight five-number system and therefore spread across so many winners that no individual reaches the hundred-million-dollar level.

The identity of the lottery winners is not always revealed, so it's best to look at these through the largest payouts and how they were divided. Here are the previous top five jackpots with respect to total payout. The larger number is the amount of the annuity (how much winners would get over many years) while the cash payout represents a smaller lump-sum amount that a winner could choose to receive.

  1. $656 Million – Three winning tickets were cashed on the March 30, 2012 Mega Millions drawing, which, as of this writing, is the largest jackpot total as well as the largest cash payout ($471 million). The only winning ticket holders to be identified were Merle and Patricia Butler of the small Southern Illinois town of Red Bud. The other winners were a group of teachers in Milford Mill, Maryland, and a single anonymous winner in Ottawa, Kansas.

  2. $648 Million – The second largest jackpot was also a Mega Millions drawing. The December 17, 2013, drawing brought two winning ticket holders a total cash value of $347.6 million. Steve Tran, a delivery truck driver in northern California, claimed half of the prize while Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia claimed the other half.

  3. $590.5 Million – The highest Powerball payout in history went to a single winner: Gloria Mackenzie, who was 84 years old at the time of the drawing on May 18, 2013. The Florida woman received the highest single amount of cash collected by a single winner ($370.9 million). This particular draw also featured the unluckiest lottery player of all time: the gracious gentleman who let Mackenzie go ahead of him in line to purchase a ticket.

  4. $587.5 Million – The Powerball drawing on November 28, 2012, produced two winning tickets for an overall cash payout of $384.7 million, the all-time record in cash payouts on a single drawing for Powerball until now. The prize was split between Matthew Good of the Phoenix, Arizona, suburb of Fountain Hills, and Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Missouri. Good and his wife attempted to remain anonymous, but public records laws forced the disclosure of his name.

  5. $564 million – The February 2015 Powerball drawing produced three winners and a cash value of $381 million. The first winner to claim was Marie Holmes, a 26-year old single mother of four from Shallotte, North Carolina. A second winner in Puerto Rico has decided to remain anonymous, and a third winning ticket was sold at the Appletree Food Mart in Princeton, Texas, near the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The proceeds from the Texas ticket have been placed in a trust under the name TL Management Trust.

Congratulations to these lucky people and the newest large-scale lottery winners. Save and spend your money wisely. In the meantime, we'll keep buying our own tickets in the hope of joining you someday.


Photo ©iStock.com/Micah Youello

  Conversation   |   46 Comments

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Sara | 09.09.15 @ 17:00
Never really played the lottery. Always figured I could spend my money better elsewhere. However, it is nice to know real people win these things and its not rigged.
Erin | 09.09.15 @ 17:03
I've never played since I like to spend my money elsewhere, but these people sure hit the jackpot. Congrats to them all.
trish | 09.09.15 @ 17:06
I am a random lottery ticket buyer. If I have the urge, or if there is a huge pot, I may grab one. But for the most part, I am just that dreamer...
Nancy | 09.09.15 @ 17:07
I have to admit that I have dreamed of what I would do with a big lottery win. Unfortunately, you have to play to win.
Kathryn | 09.09.15 @ 17:15
My family has always bought a ticket but never has won, but hey, it's super fun and I'm happy for the people who got the big bucks!
Beverly | 09.09.15 @ 17:19
It would be nice to win one of the big jackpots, but I guess you have to actually buy a ticket first! The saddest part about lottery winners is that most of them lose it very quickly because of poor, and in most cases no, planning.
Daniel Dohlstrom | 09.09.15 @ 17:19
I am happy winning a couple bucks here and there I could not even imagine hitting for a big one
Steffanie | 09.09.15 @ 17:20
Always wish I could win, but that would require participating.
Elaine | 09.09.15 @ 17:21
Actually I have never played or even thought about playing.
Zanna | 09.09.15 @ 17:23
I do dream of winning it big, but I rarely ever even buy a cheap scratch-off ticket, so it's not likely!
Owen | 09.09.15 @ 17:32
Its still a lot of money. If invested right it could last a long time.
Heather | 09.09.15 @ 17:33
i could just imagine all the good I could do with that money. Its more than one person could handle.
gracie | 09.09.15 @ 17:40
I must admit I buy one lotto ticket every payday. I figure you can't win if you never play right? Although I can't even imagine winning that much money?!
Christina | 09.09.15 @ 17:42
I have dreamed of winning the jackpot,but I never buy a ticket.
Britt | 09.09.15 @ 17:50
I've never really had an interest in playing the lottery. It always sort of seemed...pointless.
Kyle | 09.09.15 @ 17:53
I'm more of a scratcher type person than a full on lottery. I find that the chances of winning something are a lot more likely.
Victor | 09.09.15 @ 17:53
I have only played the lottery 3 times because of my father, I wish I could hit the jackpot next time he asks me to play it.
Morgan | 09.09.15 @ 17:57
I play on occasion when I have the extra cash to be able to. I figure, why not?
Wanda Langley | 09.09.15 @ 18:01
I am one of the dreamers. Once in a great while I may buy one if I am out and about with someone who buys them. I have never realy got into the Lottery thingy.
Clarissa | 09.09.15 @ 18:09
I've never played the lottery before because I know the statistics. It's nice to hear that these individuals had a great lucky streak. In KY, proceeds from lottery sales go towards KEES money for students to be able to attend college! It may be time for me to start paying it forward and playing the lottery to help other students :)
Christina | 09.09.15 @ 18:10
I buy tickets randomly, but not when there is a huge jackpot, because that's when EVERYONE else buys a random ticket ;)
Amanda | 09.09.15 @ 18:11
I play every now and then but have only been lucky on a scratchers.... $100 from a $1 scratcher.
Carla Truett | 09.09.15 @ 18:18
If the jackpot is huge, we make the trip over to Georgia to buy a ticket. I think everyone dreams of winning at least once in their life. I have a friend in Texas that won and didn't realize it for a month or so.
Stokes | 09.09.15 @ 18:21
I've never played the lottery. I save my luck for winning things you don't have to pay to enter.
Sarah | 09.09.15 @ 18:26
My parents used to play when I was younger. I remember the weekly trip to the corner store to buy a ticket and then them watching the numbers get pulled. We never won - anything. So, I don't play now. Every once in a great while my hubby will gift me with a scratch off because those amuse me but I don't buy them on my own.
Alec | 09.09.15 @ 18:52
Lotteries are fun to play and it's nice to see people actually win. I tend to buy scratch cards instead because I've won a few small prizes here and there. I've always wondered what the taxes look like for the big winners though.
Ron | 09.09.15 @ 19:16
If I ever win a lottery of substantial size, you would never hear of me, again.
Kamie | 09.09.15 @ 19:20
If I won, no one would know. Well, no some would know, but not many. I can't win unless I play though.
George Middleton | 09.09.15 @ 19:22
It would be nice to hit a big one. There is so much a person could do with that kind of money for the good.
Angie | 09.09.15 @ 19:31
It is wonderful to hear of people who win. I am surprised, though, that the couple who wished to remain anonymous was not able to. I would certainly want anonymity - I'm sure there's a certain amount of unwanted attention when people are aware of winners' identities.
Selena Walls | 09.09.15 @ 19:37
I never play the lottery. Why toss away money for the very, very, very slim chance that you might win, when there are mouths to feed and little ones to cloth.
Tina | 09.09.15 @ 19:51
I have never purchased a lottery ticket. My aunt used to put scratch offs in our stockings as stocking stuffers. I once won $2. I'm not sure it was money well spent on her part :-)
Andrea | 09.09.15 @ 19:55
Play once in a while, if I ever won though... take care of family first them decide from there.
Bobbie | 09.09.15 @ 20:19
Hubby likes to play once in while. It's always nice to dream.
Jo Ann | 09.09.15 @ 20:33
I would love to win the lottery, But I know it is a long shot. I still play once in awhile because its nice to dream what if? My biggest fear of winning is I would probably have a stroke from shock and never get to spend a dime of it. LOL
Jackie | 09.09.15 @ 20:43
I dream of what I could do with the winnings every time there's a mega jackpot. I buy an occasional ticket but never win.
Jane | 09.09.15 @ 21:17
I won a cash 5 lottery once, and will always play the lottery, as long as I can afford to.
Meredith L | 09.09.15 @ 21:30
I had a small win of under $2000 and New York State took, I think 32% for taxes. It could have been up to 36%....and I'm scratching my head wondering why SUNY students need to pay tuition!
gracie | 01.16.16 @ 09:39
I am pretty tight with my money but I splurge each payday and buy a single ticket. I figure you can't win if you don't play right? Such lofty dreams right?!
Ambar | 01.16.16 @ 11:57
I've played the lottery maybe a couple times in my life. I've always been scared of how people change when they get a huge amount of "workless" money. I hope they spend it wisely.
Irene | 01.16.16 @ 12:17
I wish it could be me up there!
Crystal | 01.16.16 @ 12:25
I don't play the lottery, but my husband does. Good luck to him considering the odds! But if he did win, I'm heading to Tahiti! Hope these winners held on to their riches.
Daniel Dohlstrom | 01.16.16 @ 12:51
Cannot even imagine winning such a large amount. I know for sure winners would need some real good financial advice and planning to make the most out of it all for them selves and families future
Stokes | 01.16.16 @ 13:12
The lure of all that money is tempting, but I've never played the lottery. The odds are against me and I have better places to spend my money. Not to mention I imagine there are big headaches that come with the money.
Jonathan | 01.16.16 @ 13:19
#1 rule in gambling..... The house always wins.
Carla Truett | 01.16.16 @ 14:05
I am glad it was split 3 ways so more were allowed to enjoy the wealth. I just hope some charities will benefit too.
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