The Biggest Lottery Jackpots Ever

Two lotteries stand out above all others when looking at the biggest lottery jackpots of all time. They are Powerball and Mega Millions, both based in the USA. All the most prominent record-breaking prizes were down to these two lotteries and happened between 2012 and 2018. The jackpots were all worth more than 500 million US dollars. Because lottery winnings are taxed at an average of 25 to 35% in the United States, (in contrast to most European countries, where they are tax-free), the actual cash value of jackpot-payouts from Mega Millions and Powerball is reduced. The actual payouts are still more than 3.7 million US dollars for all the top jackpots mentioned here.

The biggest lottery jackpot ever won, was shared between three winning tickets. On 13 January 2016, the Powerball jackpot was 1.58 billion US dollars. Mega Millions had an only marginally smaller jackpot on 23 October 2018, which was paid out to just one winning ticket.

A Powerball jackpot of 758 million US dollars was won by one winning ticket on 23 August 2017. On 23 October 2018, a prize of 687 million US dollars was shared between two winning Mega Millions tickets.

A Mega Millions jackpot of 656 million US dollars was shared between three winning tickets on 30 March 2012.

Between 2012 and 2013, Powerball had three huge jackpots of between 580 and 650 million US dollars, which were shared out between five winning tickets altogether.

Both Powerball and Mega Millions had other big jackpots in 2015 and 2016, that added up to more than five million US dollars each.

It is typical for lotteries in the United States to pay out their jackpots as annuities over many years. Accordingly, winnings of Powerball or Mega Millions can be paid out over 30 years (as an annuity), or as a lump sum.