These days, it’s normal to see lottery wins of $50,000 or even $1 million. But have you ever wondered how much were the largest jackpot prizes ever won? Wonder no longer—below are some of the biggest lotto and Powerball wins in history.
The largest lottery jackpot in history (so far, at least), was from the U.S., and is worth $656 million. Aside from its staggering size, the win was also controversial because of the drama surrounding the identity of the real ticketholders. There was a woman who claimed to own one of the winning tickets, but she also bought a syndicate ticket for her co-workers and insists that the winner was purchased separately. The suspense lasted a week, but the three winners eventually claimed their windfall.
This 2007 MegaMillions jackpot had two winning tickets: one was owned by truck driver Eddie Nabors in Dalton, Georgia, and the other by contractor Harold Messner. All in all, the cash pay-out for this jackpot was worth $233.1 million, which is said to be the third largest in the history of U.S. lottery.
One of the largest wins in lottery history was worth a massive $380 million, which was split between two ticketholders, with each getting $190 million (before taxes). One ticket was owned by Jim and Carolyn McCullar, a couple from Ephrata, Washington. The other was Holly Lahti of Rathdrum, Idaho. Unfortunately, Lahti’s troubled past came up when she went into hiding.
In February 2006, eight employees of a ConAgra meat-packing plant in Nebraska won the largest Powerball jackpot in history. Seven men and one woman won $365 million in all. Immediately after winning, three quit their jobs. All eight winners decided to claim their prize in lump sum, worth $15.5 million after taxes.
Back in 2005, the West and Chaney families of Jacksonville, Oregon won the $340 million Powerball jackpot. The winners chose to get the prize in lump sum, which was worth $110 million after taxes. They then established the Robert & Frances Chaney Family Foundation and West Family Foundation to aid non-profits that help poor families in Southern Oregon.
Even after a decade, businessman Jack Whittaker’s $314.9 million Powerball win in 2002 is still the largest jackpot for a single ticket. Like most winners, Whittaker chose to get his prize in cash, which was worth $170 million or $113.9 million after taxes. Before winning in Powerball, Whittaker was already rich and had a net worth of $17 million.
The largest jackpot in British history, worth £161 million, was won by Colin and Chris Weir from Largs, Scotland. But because the couple went public with their win, a deluge of begging letters steadily arrived at their home, causing the Weirs to go into hiding in Spain. The couple, however, went on a string of generous donations, including paying for the operation of a child with cerebral palsy.
In Australia, the largest-ever jackpot win was the AU$106 million Oz Lotto draw back in June 2009. Two winners shared the prize: a couple living in Gold Coast, Queensland and a blue collar worker from South Australia. Interestingly, the Queensland couple still went to work after winning their AU$53 million share.