One winning ticket in huge $1.5 billion US lotto jackpot

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 24 2018 06:48 PM | Updated as of Oct 24 2018 09:54 PM

Mega Millions lottery entry tickets are seen in New York City, U.S., October 23, 2018. Brendan McDermid, Reuters

WASHINGTON (UPDATE) - A single winning ticket has been identified in a massive $1.5 billion Mega Millions US lottery jackpot, the second largest on record, organizers said Wednesday.

The winning ticket was bought in South Carolina, but the lucky winner has not yet been identified.

Mega Millions, which initially announced a global record $1.6 billion jackpot, later revised the figure down to $1.537 billion.

The new amount makes the prize the second largest, just shy of the $1.586 billion jackpot for a rival Powerball lottery in January 2016, which was shared between three winning tickets.

Regardless, it's the largest single winning ticket ever and it dwarfed the previous Mega Millions record, set in March 2012 at $656 million.

The six winning numbers drawn on Tuesday night were five, 28, 62, 65, 70 and another five as the special "gold Mega Ball."

The massive jackpot had set off a lottery frenzy across America, with people lining up at convenience stores, supermarkets and liquor stores to buy a $2 ticket that gave them a roughly one in 300 million chance of winning.

"The moment we've been waiting for finally arrived, and we couldn't be more excited," said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Group and director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

"This is truly a historic occasion."

The winner can take $878 million in a lump sum cash payment or be paid out in annuities over 30 years.

The jackpot ballooned because no one had won since July, when a group of office workers in California shared a $543 million prize.

The record 2016 Powerball jackpot was split three ways by ticket holders in California, Florida and Tennessee. Each took home $528.8 million.

In the latest Mega Millions draw, there were 36 second prizes worth $1 million each. They will be paid out to ticket holders who got the first five numbers right but not the Mega Ball.

Including the jackpot and lesser prizes, there were 15.75 million tickets Tuesday night that earned bettors at least the face value of the ticket.

Unlike in many other countries, US lottery winnings are taxable at the federal level, while some states also impose local taxes.

The jackpot now resets at $40 million for the next drawing on Friday.