$1.3B lottery ticket winner has just days to make a decision

DES PLAINES, Ill. (NewsNation) — The Illinois winner of July’s Mega Millions $1.34 billion lottery drawing has only ten days left to decide whether they would like to paid annually or all at once, according to state lottery officials.

Waiting to claim a lottery fortune is common — most legal and financial experts advise getting your ducks in a row before stepping forward. 

But the deadline for the July 29 winner’s decision is rapidly approaching. According to the Illinois Lottery’s Winner’s Handbook, if a decision is not made, the winner will automatically be paid annually.

According to NBC Chicago, the winner would be paid annually over 29 years. If they opt for a one-time cash payout, that would be about $780.5 million.

“If you are a winner who receives annuity payments, you receive the interest earned on the bonds purchased by the Lottery for the payment of the prize up the prize amount,” the handbook dictates.

The winning ticket was sold at a gas station in Des Plaines, a suburb of Chicago. It was the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions’ history. The largest was in South Carolina in 2018 when a single ticket fetched $1.53 billion.

The Top 10 Mega Millions Jackpots
  • $1.537 billion. South Carolina. One winning ticket. Oct. 23, 2018.
  • $1.337 billion. Illinois. One winning ticket. July 29, 2022.
  • $1.05 billion. Michigan. One winning ticket. Jan. 22, 2021.
  • $656 million. Illinois, Kansas, Maryland. Three winning tickets. March 30, 2012.
  • $648 million. California, Georgia. Two winning tickets. Dec. 17, 2013.
  • $543 million. California. One winning ticket. July 24, 2018.
  • $536 million. Indiana. One winning ticket. July 8, 2016.
  • $533 million. New Jersey, One winning ticket. March 30, 2018.
  • $522 million. California. One winning ticket. June 7, 2019.
  • $516 million. Pennsylvania. One winning ticket. May 21, 2021.
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Data courtesy: Mega Millions